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A cheap '70s-style receiver for your highly expensive modern smartphone.

"Hi is looking stunned in the second panel here because his teenage son's act of disrespectful rebellion: rocking out to a song released in 1975."
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For some reason, there's often a twenty year lag between reality and TV-land. Works that are supposed be set in the present day turn out as Anachronism Stew with the inclusion of elements that are out of date.

On television, everyone speaks Totally Radical and enjoys the hottest new music, trends and technologies. This trope comes into play when styles and trends from 20 years ago are presented as current, edgy, or at least still popular when they no longer are. Because Most Writers Are Adults, this often occurs when writers decide to Write What You Know or rely on Pop Culture Osmosis to inform depictions of the generation below them.

In newer works, this is often seen with technology. Smart phones and the internet have changed society in plot-critical ways that may cause problems for writers. Omitting or using obsolete tech can as such be an Acceptable Break from Reality. Older works may entirely ignore major social changes, such as the Sexual Revolution. This was sometimes Enforced due to censorship.

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This is particularly common in Long-Runners, where anachronisms may be The Artifact or an attempt to say We're Still Relevant, Dammit!

Setting your work 20 Minutes into the Past can avoid this issue. Due to the Popularity Polynomial, sometimes out of date trends can still come across as cool and add interest to a modern setting. Having a character be a Fan of the Past is smoother way integrate old trends into a current or future setting.

Compare 20 Minutes into the Future, where the future resembles the present, and Disco Dan, a specific character that personifies this trope. Fashions Never Change, Pac-Man Fever, Zeerust, Long-Runner Tech Marches On, Totally Radical, and any Dead Horse Trope or Discredited Trope are common signs of Two Decades Behind. The Badbutt may also make an appearance if the work tries and fails to make a character edgy.

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Contrast Present-Day Past, when current culture sneaks into a Period Piece, and Unintentional Period Piece, where instead of being behind the times, a work of fiction is all too obviously of its time. See also Purely Aesthetic Era.


Examples:

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    Advertising 
  • Chuck E. Cheese kept running the same commercials from the early 1990s until very late in the 2000s. And Chuck was still in his not-fooling-anyone skater drag until 2012, when he was finally given a much-needed makeover.
  • The incredibly '80s commercials for the toy Skip-It remained on TV from the late '80s all the way through the '90s.
  • The original Baby Bottle Pop commercial, from 1998 mind you, looks like it's straight out of 1988. Made even worse by the fact that the commercial ran into the early 2000s.
  • TV spots for the Brooklyn, NY area burger joint Roll N Roaster have run in a mostly unedited form for about forty years. You can see it here. Unfortunately, the waitstaff no longer wear berets.
  • A 1995 commercial for Eggo Cinnamon Toast Waffles exemplifies this trope to a tee. In it, a kid suggests combining his school with a music video. What follows is a school with its kids dressed at least a decade out of date, wearing spandex and ridiculous amounts of hairspray, topped off with a voiceover by a Joey Ramone soundalike. If the advertisers did their research regarding what was hip when the ad came out, the boys would've all had Kurt Cobain haircuts and dirty clothes. The girls, meanwhile, would've either cut their hair really short or dressed like Cher Horowitz. Of course, these styles were in the mid-1990s still popular in many parts of the American Midwest, which is supposedly where the "average" American consumer lives; hell, in some cases those styles are still popular in the Midwest today.
  • Microsoft's "Child of the 90s" ad for Internet Explorer relies entirely on associating the product with all the stuff from the '90s that people are nostalgic for nowadays, in lieu of actually saying anything about Internet Explorer.note  The commercial ends saying that Internet Explorer has grown up (along with the audience) since the '90s - which runs sort of contrary to the nostalgia indulgence that the rest of the commercial glorifies.
  • Advertisements in the 2000s which wanted to play on family and nostalgia would often use a 8mm home movies look, with shaky camera work along with film scratches and grain. However the adults in the advertisement would have been kids in the 80s and 90s, when video cameras were more common.
  • Averted in a Taco Bell commercial with a guy who has been stuck in 1984 and decides to get with the times.
  • Captain Birdseye has used the same old-fashioned grey bearded sea captain for decades on their logo. For a short while during the 1990s they gave the character a more trendy, updated look and replaced him with a much younger man. The make-over didn't catch on and they soon returned to the old captain again.
  • Israeli advertisements aimed at children used the word madlikHebrew , ‘radical’, for years after it went entirely obsolete in actual spoken Hebrew.
  • In the Chicagoland area, there is this commercial for Victory Autowreckers, which was filmed in the very early 1980s and continued airing on television well into the 2000s. For those who lived in Chicago during the 80s and 90s, this is a commercial they know by heart. It was finally updated—in 2016.
  • Invoked in a series of French billboards displaying an American cultural icon and its respective release dates on either side of the Atlantic (chewing gum, 1870/1918; sneakers, 1864/1935; electric guitar 1955/1964; cupcake 1952/2012; skateboard 1957/1965; jeans 1874/1945) before asking "Why should the Americans get everything before us?" Then revealing it's for a channel that shows Game of Thrones simultaneously with the U.S. broadcast and one of the Houses' symbols.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Note that characters using flip-style cellphones in modern anime is not necessarily an example. Japan got on the smartphone bandwagon much later than other developed countries, partly due to unusually high-tech flip-phones with many of the same features as smartphones.
  • In episode 5 of A Place Further than the Universe, it's revealed that Megumi lent Kimari her video game console... an original PlayStation that's almost a decade older than she herself is. (Everyone has smartphones, so it apparently takes place in the 2010s or later.)

    Arts 
  • Paintings by fantasy artist Larry Elmore almost always feature characters with 1980s hairstyles, even if the painting was created in the 1990s or 2000s.

    Comic Books 
  • Marvel Universe's disco-themed Dazzler (a.k.a., sometimes "The Disco Dazzler") got her solo series in 1981... by which point disco was considered, well, Deader Than Disco.
  • You're not going to understand half the jokes in Scott Pilgrim unless you're familiar with early video game titles for the Nintendo Entertainment System & the Sega Genesis. This was a common critique of The Movie.
  • A common criticism of DC Comics's New 52 (2011) is how much it reminded some readers of the early 1990s Dark Age. The talent on most New 52 books was and remains heavy on 1990s stalwarts like Jim Lee, Scott Lobdell, Fabian Nicieza, Brett Booth, and even Rob Liefeld. Special mention should go to George Perez, whose work on "World's Finest" didn't look so hot due to his clearly not taking modern digital inking and coloring into account. Not to mention incorporating WildStorm characters into the DC Universe, such as Zealot, Voodoo, Fairchild and Grifter.
  • Speedball was essentially a Silver Age character created by Steve Ditko in 1988. The character fared somewhat better in The New Warriors, but his poorly-received revamp as Penance/"Bleedball", essentially a '90s Anti-Hero played completely straight and introduced over a decade after such characters were considered hip, wasn't any better.
  • Batman:
    • Appeared in some comics of the 1990s, with some of Bruce Wayne's high-society friends still saying "old boy" and other faux-British expressions, even though it hadn't been fashionable to say such things since the 1930s at the latest. Of course, since Wayne is a Rich Idiot with No Day Job and his friends are largely Upper-Class Twits, this was probably just satire.
    • Nightwing's original costume was heavily disco inspired despite being in the '80s, well after disco fell out of fashion.
  • Tintin: Despite moving along with the times in general the comic strip still had Tintin wear his old plusfour pants up until the penultimate album. Only in "Tintin - Tintin and the Picaros" (1975), the final book in the series, do we see Tintin wearing modern jeans trousers.
  • Lucky Luke: The comic strip is more or less a satire of western movies, especially the classics by John Ford and Sergio Leone. Morris never liked the westerns that were made after the 1960s, when political correctness stepped in and many of the ancient stereotypes were removed for a more realistic and historically accurate approach of the Wild West. Thus many of the later Lucky Luke albums are still referring to western movie iconography that died out since the sixties and western films most of his younger audiences have never seen.
  • Piet Pienter en Bert Bibber: This comic strip was made in The '50s and despite being in syndication for four decades it remained frozen in the 1950s. The characters, fashions, backgrounds... everything!
  • A poor quality Dark Age pinup-style Iron Heart variant cover garnered many complaints for the way it drew a 15-year-old girl as a Hotter and Sexier 20-something woman, and several more complaints suggesting it was the dated fashion that made it come across as sexualised. One commentator suggested that many comic book artists get stuck on late-90s/early-00s fashion due to it being what sexy women wore when they were learning to draw, and called it the equivalent of 'drawing characters with flip phones'.
  • Kronblom, a Swedish comic still running since 1927 in a case of Comic-Book Time gone mad, is now at least four decades behind. There will be occasional references to a modern technology, popular culture and changes in society. But it mostly feels like the characters still live in the 1970s, or perhaps even the 1950s. The clothes and the women's hairstyles are very old-fashioned, and it seems like life in the Swedish countryside hardly has changed at all in the last forty years. Most notably, they still have a (very old-fashioned) store in the village. That has become more and more implausible for each decade since the 1960s, even if the writers occasionally put some realism in it by letting the store-keeper complain that he may soon have to close the store, because people have started to do most of their shopping at the supermarkets in town...
  • Il Giornalino is an Italian weekly comic book of Catholic inspiration, whose publishing house was founded by a Catholic priest. Most references to youth culture in its stories are at least 20 years out of date. Example: a story in a 2013 issue was basically a rant against people who follow fashion, except that the main character, whom the readers were supposed not to follow, was head over heels about a style of shirt that was popular in the mid-1990s. Another story in the same issue was a rant against playing video games for too long: the main character was addicted to his "Wii"... that looked like a Sega CD.
  • Although Mortadelo y Filemón have run on Ripped from the Headlines for two decades now to the point one can pinpoint the exact year based on world events and celebrity cameos, the fashions, cars and backgrounds seem perpetually stuck in the books's golden era of the late 70s and 80s. Things that were rare in a large city even then, like wooden fences, street dogs and animals pulling carts will show up for the sake of a joke.
  • An intentional case in Revolutionaries— when legendary WWII hero Sgt. Robert Stephen Savage is brought forth to 1994 by the Talisman, he immediately adapts to his new time period, embracing 90s culture in every way. Then the Talisman sends him in time again, this time to 2017, where the Revolutionaries are rather confused at a WWII legend snarling "Eat my shorts" and gushing about Sonic the Hedgehog. It doesn't stop Sgt. Savage (already a Super Soldier / Expy of Captain America) from being Crazy Awesome, though.

    Comic Strips 
  • Many Newspaper Comics are legacy Long-Runners to the extent that pop culture references might be Three Decades Behind, while styles of clothing (especially if meant to denote a character type, such as Beetle Bailey's Rocky being "the rocker", or even the attire and props of a one-off background character) can be Five or Six Decades Behind, an example of The Artifact. Beetle Bailey is also notable for the way the military equipment is frozen in about 1952. Beetle and his fellow soldiers still wear M1 helmets and carry Garand rifles with bayonets instead of M16s. Sarge wears a garrison cap, which hasn't been official Army headgear since 2004.
  • Blondie:
    • Dagwood still has his 1930s-style clothing and hairstyle (while Blondie keeps her curly bob hairdo, she primarily wears more contemporary clothing) even though they use modern technology such as flat screen TVs and smartphones.
    • In a 1970s comic, Dagwood enters a record store and asks for the "The B's." The clerk assumes Dagwood is asking about Bach, Brahms and Beethoven but is shocked that Dagwood actually wants "Bop, Be Bop and Boogie." (Even given that a 1970s Dagwood may have enjoyed these musical genres when younger, it is unlikely that anyone in the 1970s would have still found 1940s music edgy or disturbing.)
  • Hi and Lois:
    • A 2012 strip (in which Hi indulges in a little in-my-day lecturing to teenage son Chip while listening to old vinyl records) prompted some discussion on The Comics Curmudgeon about how implausible such a gag is in 2012, since vinyl stopped being the dominant music format some three decades prior, which should make Dad a lot older than the fortyish guy he's depicted as to have amassed such a collection in his youth.
    • Another one depicts Chip's room with posters of Bob Dylan, The Who, and Led Zeppelin. As the Comics Curmudgeon commentary puts it, this guy is not the mom's son, but her dad with those musical tastes. Most modern teenagers would not be fans of 40 and 50 year old music, so this trope is invoked.
  • Similarly, in Curtis, the title character idolizes rappers while his father has nothing but disdain for "that rap junk". The elder Wilkinses, though, seem to be in their early forties, meaning that they would have been kids when rap first became popular. Styles have changed, but the strip doesn't go into those nuances.
  • Another similar example can be found in Zits, where Connie and Walt, the parents of the 16-year old main character, are portrayed as baby boomers who used to be hippies in The '60s. The strip started in 1997, when it was still credible for former sixties hippies to be parents of a teenager, but since the characters don't really age due to Comic-Book Time, the hippie past of Connie and Walt becomes increasingly unlikely as years go by. It's lampshaded a few times that Jeremy's taste in music is still stuck in the 90s, with members of his favorite bands having kids his age now.
  • The Family Circus seems to languish in a world as much as six decades behind, with a brand of humor that makes Full House seem edgy. For instance, one March 2014 strip features the mother scolding her child for calling her "dude" and telling her to "chill out". Perhaps the Eighties are finally beginning to set in for the strip after all.
  • FoxTrot:
    • Walking Techbane and Bumbling Dad Roger Fox has been described as "still trying to catch up with the technology of the seventies". Made worse by Comic-Book Time, since by now he'd have been born in the seventies.
    • For some reason, most strips that involve Peter mowing the lawn depict a non-motorized manual "reel" lawn mower, even though both motorized push mowers and riding mowers had long since been commonplace when the strip started in 1988.
  • In some Calvin and Hobbes strips (drawn between the mid-1980s and mid-1990s), Dad was seen going to work sporting a black hat (either a fedora or a homburg, from the looks of it), although men his age hadn't been seen with hats since the early 1960s at the latest. Occasionally he'd wear a Conspicuous Trenchcoat as well, but at least that was only on cold days. This partly stems from the fact that Calvin's Dad is based closely on creator Bill Watterson's own father, and also because Watterson deliberately gave the strip a generic 20th century aesthetic rather than tying it to a specific decade, which also resulted in minor Anachronism Stew, such as the household using rotary phones. Mom, meanwhile, was once shown doing housework in Capri pants, a short-sleeved dress shirt, and a "Rosie the Riveter" head-scarf. Calvin's fantasies would also at times show men wearing fedoras and women with heavy lipstick, but at least those could be explained as Imagine Spots based on what Calvin saw on television.
  • For a work that symbolizes a medium (and a decade) often brushed off as old-fashioned, Garfield is an impressive aversion of this trope among long-runners, with Jon's 70s-era appearance and personality running on Rule of Funny, being played up as years went by. Lampshaded in a 2003 comic where the then-current Garfield meets his 1978 incarnation:
    1978's Garfield: I hear a lot has happened since 1978.
    2003's Garfield: Like what?
    1978's Garfield: I hear disco died.
    *Jon disco-dances by*
    2003's Garfield: Not in this house!

    Films — Animation 
  • This is explored in the Toy Story series. In the original Toy Story film, Andy is a boy who's obsessed with cowboys. While not impossible for a boy in the 1990s, this is something more associated with the cowboy fad of the first half of the 20th century. Likewise, Woody gets displaced by a space-age character, which is what happened when sci-fi became big in the early 1960s. The sequel Toy Story 2 rolls with all of this. Woody actually is an old toy dating back several decades. He's based off an old 1950s show called Woody's Roundup. The show was cancelled on a cliff-hanger because kids became more interested in sci-fi than westerns.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Parodied in Airplane!: News reporters still wear fedoras in 1979-1980, everyone in the plane wears formal clothing, a pair of nuns is seen in traditional (pre-Vatican II, which concluded in 1965) garb, a character tells his wife over the phone to stop having the milkman deliver cheese to their doorstep (milkmen having become scarce since the 1960s, when supermarkets took over American life), and a number of male characters display embarrassingly sexist attitudes that, while undoubtedly still present in the late '70s, were nowhere as socially appropriate as the movie makes them seem. Most jarringly, Striker's flashbacks to what would logically be the Vietnam War include shots of World War I triplanes and even a pre-Wright-Brothers whirlygig. Despite that, the jukebox in his flashback plays The Bee Gees. A lot of this is a result of Airplane! being a pseudo-remake of 1957 Zero Hour! ("the war", while not specified, was obviously World War II). The very outdated script was kept almost intact, with all the hilarity that entailed.
  • Notoriously, Tim Burton's Batman (1989) and Batman Returns depicted Gotham City being four decades behind. Even though it's clear from the context that the stories are occurring during about the last decade of the 20th century, newspapers still cost about 25 cents, a chemical plant still dumps its toxic waste in the river, suburbs are nonexistent (except for Wayne Manor, of course), the town is without solar or even nuclear power, women still have no way to fight back against discrimination in the workplace, fedoras and late-1940s "New Look" dresses are everywhere, criminals fire Thompson submachine guns, and while the cars are at least contemporary, Bruce Wayne thinks nothing of having Alfred drive him around in a very old-fashioned 1930s Rolls-Royce. Some of this can, of course, be justified by Purely Aesthetic Era.
  • For One More Day has flashbacks that portray the main character being a child in what appears to be The '50s. However, he is played by a 41-year-old Michael Imperioli (born in 1966) who doesn't look at all like someone in his '60s. You could argue that the film isn't set in The Present Day (after all, Imperioli uses a rather old car and a pay phone), but a flashback to nine years earlier shows him working in an office with fairly new-looking computers.
  • The Craft, released in 1996, has one teenager refer to another as looking like Loni Anderson, who was best known during the 1970s. The comparison was true, however. Also, the popular girl is openly racist, and her friends seem to be as well. At the very least, they back her up. This would not happen in the '90s at any school, let alone the affluent California school in the film.
  • Check out some of the Disney live-action comedies from the 1970s, where it's Still The Fifties: milk is still delivered to doorsteps; women are still housewives; and the chances of seeing any hippies, punks, or glam rockers are slim to none. Heck, in many cases the sideburns on the male characters aren't even that long! Occasionally the writers would slip in something Totally Radical, but that worked about as well as you'd expect. Children who watch these films (and remember, these are some of the first live-action films they see) often end up assuming that hardly any big change happened in the '60s and '70s. This still happens although since the 1990s, this has been more intentional, often in an Affectionate Parody intent. One reason given for this is that Walt Disney was very old-fashioned and conservative as in the case of his immediate successors, and thus, the studio was always a step or two behind the rest of Hollywood.
  • It has been some time since pizza delivery companies offered "delivered within thirty minutes or it's free". Not in movies, it hasn't. Most heinous example is probably Meet the Robinsons, where this rule still exists in the far future. It didn't even exist when the movie came out!
  • Another example is The Shaggy D.A. (1976), a sequel to The Shaggy Dog, filmed in the late 1950s, which was about a teenage boy who was turned into a sheepdog by an ancient curse. In The Shaggy D.A., he is now in his thirties and is an aspiring politician. But to judge by the clothes the characters wear, the cars they drive and so forth, you'd think that curse had not only given that kid dog DNA, but caused him to age 17 years in less than a third of the time.
  • A common comment of the original Fright Night (1985) is that despite its Eighties setting it feels very much like the Fifties with the way it portrays teens and the way they act and speak. Aided by the fact that the monsters are heavily inspired by Hammer Horror films from the 1950s. Though the soundtrack is very distinctly '80s, with bands like April Wine and Autograph.
  • If it weren't for the computers and a few other things, you would swear that Hot Rod takes place in the 1980s.
  • As often happens with portrayals of ice hockey in U.S. media for some reason, The Love Guru did this through Justin Timberlake's character. His Jason Voorhees style goalie mask was about thirty years out of date, as was his personal appearance.
  • Killer Klowns from Outer Space, despite being released in 1988, has a very 1950s vibe to it. Likely done on purpose as the film was meant as an homage to horror films of the 50s. True, the teenagers are decked out in "cool" '80s fashions, but their "gee-whiz" attitudes hearken back to the '50s.
  • The date on Royal's tombstone being listed as "2001" is likely to be a surprise during a first viewing of The Royal Tenenbaums, which otherwise looks to be set somewhere between 1976 and 1984.
  • The Way, Way Back does this deliberately, lampshades it and plays with it in almost every possible way.
  • Played with in Napoleon Dynamite: While the movie is stated to be set in 2004 (present-day at the time of shooting), almost every character's fashion sense seems to be stuck in the eighties or even seventies, Napoleon uses his trusty Walkman to great effect, a fair deal of 80s music is heard (Alphaville's "Forever Young," Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time," etc.) and cordless phones (not to mention cellphones) are absent. Clearly overlaps with Anachronism Stew, since Kip is stated to chat online with "chicks" via a 90s style dial-up connection (as pointed out by Uncle Rico) on a computer which uses floppy disks as a storage medium, and Summer uses a Backstreet Boys song to accompany her election skit. When the film's writers were asked when the story was set, they replied, "Idaho."
  • It's unclear what year Hesher is set in (the film itself was released in 2010). But the clothing, dialogue, and automobiles make it feel like it's set in either the late 1980s or early 1990s.
  • The short film Rock: It's Your Decision, though set in 1982, feels like it came out about two decades too late, what with its entire message of rock and roll being a tool of Satan worshipers - as well as the whole "rock and roll teen vs. parent who just doesn't get it" trope, which was mostly dead by the early '70s, showing up early in the film. All the generic rock music used is clearly in the style of early '70s Classic Rock. In Real Life, Jeff would more likely be listening to stuff like Van Halen, Def Leppard, The Cars, Devo. At another point, the now-turned-religious-blowhard Jeff laments that the average age of a person buying a KISS album is twelve.. By 1982, KISS was Deader Than Disco to most people.
  • Watching the first few scenes of Footloose (1984), you'll be forgiven for thinking the story takes place in the 1950s instead of the 1980s, based on the way the teenagers are dressed and the small-town pastor's sermons against the evils of rock music, as well as apparently every kind of music except for classical music. (Heck, even country music is implied to be too wild for this town!) The sermons, at least, were Truth in Television, since the movie was based on a real-life court case.
  • Quadrophenia (1979) cannot seem to decide whether it's set during the Sixties or during the Mod revival in 1979 when it was actually made. For example, the characters have their weekly bath at the local bath-house (which would have been common in inner-city areas in the early Sixties yet by the late 1970s, the vast majority of houses in Britain had bathrooms and such community facilities had nearly all been converted or closed) - and then go home through the streets of contemporary West London.
  • With the exception of some CG effects, most people who've seen the unreleased Fantastic Four movie think it was a product of the '70s given that it's similar production values to other superhero titles of that time. That's why many are usually shocked to learn that the film was produced in 1994... a full year after Jurassic Park's release!
  • Some of the films of Albert Pyun feature this.
    • His first feature The Sword and the Sorcerer (1981) advertised a sequel during the end credits called Tales of an Ancient Empire. However the movie wouldn't see a release until 2010, a full 29 years after the first movie's premiere; by which point Sorcerer had long been forgotten outside of the B-Movie circuit, and by then sword and sorcery films were dying down in Hollywood in favor of superhero titles.
    • The 1990 Captain America movie gives off this vibe for most audiences. The lack of fight scenes and special effects along with the slow pace, darkly lit and barren set pieces, and the color pencil-like font for the opening titles feel right at home for a '70s made-for-TV superhero movie.
    • Radioactive Dreams does this intentionally. The two main characters were locked in a fallout shelter during a nuclear strike in 1996 with 1950s detective fiction and swing music as their only source of knowledge and entertainment. By the time they escape from the shelter in 2011 the duo are sporting fashion trends and attitudes of the '50s in a post-apocalyptic society of mutants.
  • Jem and the Holograms:
    • Many viewers pointed out how the group's wardrobe resembled something an 80s new wave/hair metal group would wear rather than a pop band from the 2010s. This could have been intentional given the film's origins and how current pop groups tend to dress this way as a nod to the decade.
    • The footage from Jem's childhood is shot like a home movie from the 80s, with videotape quality and fashion sense. However, if you do the math, her childhood would have been around the early 2000s, when VHS cameras were starting to become discontinued and the 80s wardrobe would have been considered an embarrassment (at least for a child or teen).
    • The footage with the squirrel on jet skis was an act that began in 1979 and didn't receive mainstream notoriety until 2004 with films like DodgeBall and Anchorman, both of which were made 11 years prior to Jem.
  • The Bridge to Terabithia film is a Setting Update from the early 1970s to the late 2000s, however it's all surface-level. The cultural differences were not changed. As a result, Leslie is a Free Range Child despite formerly being a city kid, no one reacts to a character having Abusive Parents, and Jesse's teacher just takes him on a trip by herself without anyone questioning this. The only major cultural changes were that the characters no longer run around without shoes, Jesse's parents no longer worry that he's gay because he hangs around girls and is into art, and Leslie received a design and personality overhaul because her original tomboy version isn't nearly that weird anymore.

    Literature 
  • In Harry Potter, it appears that the wizarding world - or at least the wizarding UK, even in the "modern era" of the 1990s - is a few decades behind the Muggle world and Muggle trends in terms of fashion, ideals, morals, technology, and other areas. Not only does the wizarding world, likely due to its small size, lack many features standard of modern Muggle society, but outright rejects many Muggle concepts, believing magic and wizarding culture to be superior. Based on the designs for Diagon Alley at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which was in turn based on the film set, as well as the books' description, plus wizarding newspaper depictions in the films, the wizarding world itself seems to still appear quite Victorian or Edwardian (1800s-1914) in terms of style; people dress in robes and wield wands, the same as witches and wizards a thousand years prior, listen to radio instead of watching television, and more. According to a later explanation by author J.K. Rowling, the reason for wizards culture remaining relatively unchanged, even across centuries, is due to wizards' "condescending [attitude]" towards Muggle technology, such as the Internet, and trends. Wizards and witches treat Muggle objects and culture as a "curiosity" and an "amusement", not really seeing the "terribly exciting" nature, or need, for technology when they have magic. Attitudes, prejudice, and persecution against magic from Muggles have not helped, with witches and wizards having previously suffered from centuries of Muggle "witch hunts" and "witch trials". Likewise, the British Ministry of Magic has refused to allow the broadcasting of wizarding material on any Muggle device, which would (it was felt) almost guarantee serious breaches of the International Statute of Secrecy. Wizarding radio, however, is allowed on the grounds that the "radio-listening Muggle population seems altogether more tolerant, gullible, or less convinced of their own good sense".
    • Strangely averted for the most part in Fantastic Beasts franchise. While protagonist Newt dresses a little behind the times, almost everyone else wears clothing suited to the l920s. While the first film could have made this an American wizarding custom, the second even show Dumbledore wearing era appropriate clothing.
  • In Twilight, it appears that Bella lives in the early nineties where they don't have pop-up blockers yet. Justified, since she is also supposed to live in the town where time stood still and is implied to be Hopeless with Tech. Also, the clothing, especially Bella's, likewise seems to be 90s-era Grunge; however, that might not be very surprising, considering it's set in some podunk town in Washington state, which is where the whole Grunge scene got kick-started.
  • The Venus Prime series was first released in the late 90s and is set maybe 200 years into the future... but its vision of the future is based on the technology and political realities of the 80s, when Paul Preuss began working on a text-game adaptation of Arthur C. Clarke's Catching Strain that never got off the ground (the script from that game became the basis for the first novel.)
  • Children's and Young Adult books from the 1980s and early 1990s sometimes feel this way. In many cases, the social mores seem more in line with the 1950s-1960s than the time in which the books take place. For example, many books from that time period will have characters shocked by divorce, or have people be shocked by a mother working outside the home.
  • It's not uncommon for illustrated children's books to look twenty or thirty (or more!) years out of date. One relatively recent example is the Pigeon Series, in particular the volume Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late, in which the pigeon's owner is headed to bed himself, and is wearing an old 1920s style floppy night cap and carrying a candle. This series began in 2003, and this book is the second volume!
  • Although the works of P. G. Wodehouse are best known for (and indeed written during) their Genteel Interbellum Setting, George Orwell pointed out that their depictions of aristocracy and the class system make his stories fit much more in The Edwardian Era when Wodehouse himself came of age, rather than the 1920s or 30s in the aftermath of the war that destroyed the noble class.
  • The First Men in the Moon, believe it or not. It was written in 1901, which is long after astronomers knew for certain that the Moon is an airless, lifeless world. Many assume that it was written thirty or forty years earlier, not just because of its portrayal of the Moon, but also because of confusion with Jules Verne's From the Earth to the Moon, which really was written in the 1860s.
  • For that matter, it took a very long time for the general public to get the hint that Mars is uninhabitable. It may have been reasonable when War of the Worlds was published in 1898 to presume that Mars could support indigenous intelligence, but a decade later it was very conclusively proven that there were no canals and that the Martian ice caps did not have enough water. Yet even science fiction writers paid this information no heednote  and happily included advanced Martian civilizations even in "hard" SF until the space probes were launched, making them almost six decades behind. Outside the speculative fiction community, it took even longer to accept this.
  • Ready Player One came out in the 2010s, but uses leet-speak and gamer culture tropes that were already beginning to show their age in 2003. It may also seem generally weird that in a story set in a pop-culture immersed 2045 everyone is obsessed with the 80s, with the most recent references being from the late 90s, but it's explained early on by the main character to be the result of everybody obsessing over the hobbies and passions of a deceased eccentric billionaire who was himself obsessed with the pop culture of his teenage years. The reason pouring over these old shows, movies, music, and video games is so popular is because he set up his last will and testament to leave everything (his massive fortune and legal control of the immersive VR world that everybody uses constantly) to somebody who can find and solve the clues he's hidden in it, which are all based on detailed knowledge of this pop culture.

    Live-Action TV 
  • It is possible that the phrase "Get down with your bad self" has never been uttered without irony in real life, but if it was, it was certainly many years prior to the mid to late '90s, which is when the phrase started being uttered by any sitcom character that was trying to sound cool.
  • Spoofed with the Robin Sparkles videos in How I Met Your Mother, which were supposedly from the mid-1990s but look as if they were made in 1986. Robin explains that "The '80s didn't come to Canada until 1993." The gag continues in a later episode, where Robin is credited in Canada with having invented grunge as a genre... in 1996.
  • A staple of TV sitcoms is the family TV developing a problem and having to wait for or deal with the repairman. This kind of plot would show up all the way into the 2000s. When was the last time you had a TV repairman show up at your home, or for that matter, even took your TV to be repaired elsewhere? Since about 1998 or so, it's usually less of a hassle and even less expensive to just buy a new TV.
    • Newer sitcoms use the same scenario with the cable going out, which does still happen, and which does require a repair man to come to your home. However, in a lot of these situations, they still tend to refer to it as if the problem is within the TV itself, and frequently show the repair man working on the TV, when usually the problem is with the cable box or even completely outside the home.
  • Shawn and Gus do this very self-consciously on Psych, where it's obviously supposed to be an In-Universe character quirk (other characters often call them out on it), but in the Class Reunion episode, their reunion seemed to be playing an awful lot of '80s music, given that they graduated in 1995. Even worse, Shawn and Gus are Californians, and the Golden State made the transition from the '80s to the '90s pretty darn quickly. In fact, by 1995 the '80s were already retro in the minds of many California teenagers!
  • Camden in My Name Is Earl seems to be stuck in the late '80s or early '90s, even though that time was at least 10-15 years before the start of the series. Possibly justified; Camden is a pretty podunk county and it often takes a while for trends and technologies to catch on. Plus, many of the characters we see are either older or low income, two groups less likely to use new technologies as they come out.
  • Many family sitcoms, well into the early '90s (case in point: just about any TGIF show on ABC), continued to play into cultural tropes and stereotypes that were more-or-less obsolete by then, such as the old "rock and roll teenager versus bitter/culturally unaware parent" conflict of the '60s and early '70s (see also Rock: It's Your Decision, above). By the early '90s, most real-life children had baby boomer parents who were every bit as "rockin'!" as they were. And from the 2000s onward, Baby Boomers were old enough to be grandparents - which meant the new "timely" generation clash was to give the teenager Amazingly Embarrassing Hippie Parents.
  • British TV comedy Butterflies is a prime example of this: a classic sitcom of middle-class suburban manners in which an aloof dentist is married to a dissatisfied housewife who dithers on the brink of an affair. They have two sons, meant to be hip and fashionable, but who in 1974 speak youth-argot which would have been dated even in 1964.
  • Inverted in The Big Bang Theory. When Sheldon discovers his mother is having sex, he warns her "it's not all soda jerks, sock hops, and segregation out there", leading her to ask "How old do you think I am?"
  • Inverted on M*A*S*H; while the show was set in the '50s, the attitudes and fashions (that hair!) of the characters was much more reflective of the '70s, when the show was filmed.note 
  • Done intentionally in Flight of the Conchords, where all the media from New Zealand is several decades behind the times. Their technology is also several decades out of date, to the point that they are currently running TV ads for "the telephone."
  • Meta Guy Abed on Community makes non-stop '80s references, with some stretching back from the late '70s and occasionally forward into the early '90s. This is despite Abed being in his early/mid twenties, and as such his reference pool should be mostly from works in the late '90s onwards. The real reason is that the creator of the show Dan Harmon was born in 1973 and thus his reference pool is mostly works from the '80s. The best example of this is that Abed has an encyclopedic knowledge of Who's the Boss?, despite the fact that the show would have started before Abed was born, and finished before Abed would have started pre-school. The show has lampshaded the oddity of Abed's reference pool; it still stands out as unusual, but not too unusual. The '90s, particularly early on, was the height of cable TV as a haven of reruns, and so many kids in the '90s found themselves watching shows that hadn't aired new episodes since 1989, to the point where someone who was born in '92 could easily be familiar with Who's the Boss. Add to that the fact that Abed is TV Tropes on wheels, and it holds up that as a kid he could have gone out of his way to watch shows whether they were new or not.
    • There are still some things that make no sense, like Abed using 2nd edition D&D - it's what Harmon would have played, but someone Abed's age would be more familiar with 3.5 or 4e.
  • The premise of Portlandia, as explained in the debut episode's first sketch, is that Portland, Oregon is still stuck in The '90s.
    "Remember the '90s, when everyone had a handlebar mustaches, rode bicycles and brewed their own beer? [...] No not the 1990s, the 1890s."
  • The Dowager Countess in Downton Abbey seems to dress this way... that is, one or two decades behind the show's 1910s setting. When the second series wraps up at the brink of The Roaring '20s (with Lady Mary mentioning "the boys' haircuts they're wearing in Paris"), the Dowager is finally catching up to the fashions from the beginning of the show (in 1912).
    • Justified in that she was around 70 years old already when the show began, so she wouldn't have been that quick to follow the new trends.
  • Referenced in Arrested Development. When performing as part of Tobias's band, Lyndsey complains about being dressed like it's The '60s, stating that "It's the twenty-first century. We should be dressed like it's The '80s".
  • Played with on Chuck. Casey keeps a photograph of Ronald Reagan in his apartment which he salutes at every opportunity (though it's also a bit of Actor Allusion, as actor Adam Baldwin actually is a huge fan of President Reagan's in Real Life), to the point where Beckman reminds him that "the '80s are over." Most of the references to music, television, films and video games are also centered around the period from the late '70s to early '90s, during the time in which the characters (and the actors and the show-runners) grew up.
  • Parodied on The Colbert Report in the April 26, 2012 episode. Stephen talks about how he can relate to today's youth much better than Barack Obama. He says things like "Turn off your Atari, Obama, because the game is over" and "They know I'm young because I always carry around a full deck of Yu-Gi-Oh! cards and I love the Power Rangers."
    • Stephen discussed this trope during the 2008 Democratic National Convention, as pundits tried to wonder what prominent figures from The '60s, like Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr., would think about then-nominee Barack Obama.
    Stephen: We stick with these 40-year-old battles because they are comfortable and familiar. We know how to take sides in these arguments. Besides, if we didn't, we'd have to address the problems of the present, and who wants to do that? Those things are monsters!
  • Saved by the Bell fell victim to this by about its final season (1992-1993), as the costuming and set design were firmly rooted in a hyper-idealized early-eighties, although some have speculated that it might have been partially intentional. Some wonder if they didn't hang on to the bright and colorful eighties look over the grim and drab nineties simply to grab kids' attention while flipping through the channels.
  • British soap EastEnders falls victim to this trope often. One one notable occasion in 2019, character Jay Brown calls his friend Ben "Arthur Daley", a reference to 80s show Minder, which ended before either character had even been born.
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation clung to its vivid '80s hairstyles and decor well into the 1990s. This in itself isn't so noticeable (not counting the getup on Tasha Yar's sister). However, Star Trek: Voyager began as a semi-continuation of that show, with costumes/sets redressed from the TNG era. This had the unfortunate effect of making VOY's aesthetics seem oddly retro in the late nineties. Throw in a quasi-religious devotion to past continuity, and you wound up with a 24th-century Earth where everyone dresses like they've come back from Woodstock (a relic from Gene Roddenberry's time).
    • An in-universe example occurs in Star Trek: Voyager, as Starfleet changed their uniforms after Voyager was stranded in the Delta Quadrant. Even after establishing long-range communication with Earth, they still continued to wear the old-style uniforms.
    • This can be handwaved aside with the theory that the reason they didn't switch over was due to energy conservation (it's noted that replicator use is rationed due to wanting to save energy) and not wanting to replicate more clothes than they needed to, and while the crew still has usable uniforms in the old style, it's not worth replicating new clothes for everyone. If crew members do need new uniforms, it's easier to keep using the old style until they get home, and everyone can get the new style at once so the crew doesn't look mismatched.
    • This would tend to happen in-universe whenever characters got tossed back to Earth history or something like it. In one episode of Star Trek: The Original Series, the crew visits one near-Earth planet with costume from the 1770s, then the 1870s, and both are wrong (the people are in early 20th century clothing). In the Voyager two-parter "Future's End," Tom tries to reference the Cold War, which is about a decade out of date.
  • Frasier's portrayal of talk radio represents the climate of the '70s and '80s, before the politicization of the medium sparked by the launch of Rush Limbaugh and the subsequent flood of imitators.
  • Guy Fieri, host of Food Network's Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, seems to have just gotten off the bus from 1995.
  • Mickey Pearce in Only Fools and Horses, best known for his fondness for wearing Zoot Suits (known in the UK as a "spiv suit"). Not too unusual in 1983 when he made his first appearance, but as the show entered the '90s and 2000s, it became a Running Gag that his sense of fashion was seemingly locked in the 40s or 50s and refused to budge.
  • Sex and the City:
    • Invoked in the episode where the characters go to Staten Island for the night, to some function where they dance to disco classics. Carrie's closing voice-over says it reminds her of going to Europe because all the music is at least twenty years old. What's really strange is, if you assume that Carrie Bradshaw is no older than Sarah Jessica Parker (born 1965), she'd be too young to really remember the disco craze. Also, the idea that Europe is that far behind also shows the character's ignorance.
    • In a later episode, Samantha's young assistant says that the difference between them is that while Samantha waited in line to get into Studio 54, she waited in line to get into Studio 54—the movie.
  • Understandable due to the Walt Disney Company's longtime moral standards, but on the early '90s Disney-aired (but Canadian-produced) children's show Under the Umbrella Tree, Iggy the Iguana, a fan of rap music, was still listening to relatively innocent '80s-style rap (think Beastie Boys) in 1991, even though gangsta rap was rapidly gaining popularity by that time. Since the show began production in 1986, this can easily be dismissed.
  • In Supernatural, Dean listens to music from the '70s and '80s on his collection of cassette tapes, while driving his late-'60s muscle car. Mostly justified, as Dean has a strong emotional attachment to his car and simply likes the older music (both of which are a connection to his father), but it's less clear why he thinks Sam installing an iPod jack is heresy. Later seasons do show them updating their phones to modern smartphones, however, and becoming aware of things like Netflix.
  • In an episode of The Golden Girls, Blanche accidentally gives away Rose's teddy bear to an evil little girl scout who holds it for ransom. Dorothy gets fed up and threatens to call The School for Bad Girls, who would put her in a sack and take her away, and finishes with, "and you will never eat ice cream or play jump rope again!!!" Funny scene, but the episode was made in 1987, and jumping rope was no longer standard "little girl" behavior. It would have been when Dorothy was a little girl, though.
  • In The Honeymooners, the Kramdens' apartment is relatively antiquated, with an old sink and an icebox, as though it hadn't changed one bit in forty years. Alice continuously complains about how they have no modern amenities, because Ralph is too cheap for them.
    Alice: (to Ralph) To you, this place looks like George Washington's birthplace or something: it has to be preserved exactly as it was. You know what it looks like to me? It's more like Abraham Lincoln's birthplace.
  • Oddly present on Wheel of Fortune. Puzzles pertaining to popular culture (such as the categories Song Title, Song Lyrics, Movie Title, etc.) will usually have the answer be something from the '70s or '80s. Modern pop culture has been referenced very rarely in puzzle answers since the mid-2000s, and categories that have relied most frequently on contemporary pop culture (such as Headline or Star & Role) can go entire seasons without use. However, the Classic TV category is almost entirely MIA too...
    • This may be because older media from the '70s and '80s are more widely known and established than more contemporary media. Even among people who are otherwise great at keeping up with modern day pop culture, works that are already-established standards are usually easier to spot than works that are only a few years old. A lot of sitcoms and dramas are also very conservative about referencing more recent media for the exact same reason.
  • A documentary show entitled Channel 3 Moscow, produced for American public television in The '80s taking a look at Soviet television of the era, demonstrates this was apparently the approach with Soviet TV towards the USA. One feature criticizing American rock music doesn't seem to know the difference between Elvis and Twisted Sister, and juxtaposing it with old film from the '60s to show the alleged evils of rock. Another on extreme right wing movements deals with old footage of the KKK and American Nazis which took footage from the documentary The California Reich made in 1975.
  • Some of the portrayals of out-of-touch seniors in Saturday Night Live's Amazon Echo Silver ad parody seem a little out-of-date themselves ... like Kenan Thompson wanting to know how many people Satchel Paigenote  struck out the night before and Echo playing swing when another character says he wants to hear "black jazz". Those would have been funnier in the 1980s, not the 2010s.note 
  • The title character in the 2015 public access show Sprinkler's Clubhouse is a firefighter clown, as the creator seems to be unaware that clowns have been irrelevant in children's media since Bozo the Clown's cancellation in the early 2000s. note  Not helping matters is that clowns started to become associated with Nightmare Fuel around this time due to viral videos of stalkers dressed as such.
    • In the "Basic First Aid" episode, a rap song about the importance of first aid shows Sprinkler performing a freestyle in a Michael Jackson's Thriller jacket while his friends shout "Go Sprinkler, it's your birthday!'' These examples are fresh out of the 1980s for a show made in 2016.
    • In an episode regarding Internet safety, the gang plays an educational web game about the topic, with the host being a '90s surfer guy who frequently shouts slang like "Dude" and "Radical".
      • The fact that this is a public access show further drives the point home as developing an independent TV series became more or less obsolete with the introduction of Web Video sites like YouTube in the mid 2000s.
  • Despite being filmed between 2005-2011, Aussie show Spicks and Specks rarely acknowledged anything after 1989. On rare occasions when they did, it was usually presented with a tone of "look at what rubbish this is". They even did a series of special episodes which covered the '50s, the '60s, the '70s, the '80s... and then stopped. The only notable exception is the Never Live It Down moment when Myf Warhurst failed to identify "Smells Like Teen Spirit".
  • Before time-traveling back to the Fifties, Sarah Jane Smith of The Sarah Jane Adventures is asked why she has so many Fifties outfits in her wardrobe as she would have been only a baby back then. Her answer was "The '50s came back in The '70s. I remember when this was quite the thing."
  • The Christian superhero show Bibleman was a victim of this. Most of the jokes in the show consisted of the characters or captions pointing out they knew they were characters in a TV show or jokey references to things star Willie Aames remembered from his childhood. Things like Cagney & Lacey or Donnie and Marie or his own acting career, but that people in the target audience, whose childhood was in the second half of the '90s or later never would've heard about. The cartoon version launched in 2016 followed this proud tradition by trying to present The Mall as a popular hangout with the kids the heroes lectured. One such episode had the villain's plan to corrupt children with an evil online game he and his sidekick handed out physical pass cards for from a mall kiosk. Doing this he succeeded in reaching practically every kid in town!
  • Deliberately invoked in The Young Ones, as the main characters had little contact with the outside world, particularly with Mike, who claimed to be "The Cool Person", yet his fashion sense was stuck somewhere in the 1970s

    Music 
  • As noted above, the tendency of the "dominant" generation, once in their forties and fifties, to drive "nostalgia booms" where a musical genre from their youth is resurrected. The punk rock era of the middle-late 1970s also saw a resurgence in 1950s rock'n'roll styled artistes, who could appear on the same Top of the Pops billing as the punk rockers. Acts like Darts and Showaddywaddy, in DA quiffs and the full teddy-boy rigs performing Fifties-themed songs, looked oddly anachronistic next to The Clash and Buzzcocks.
  • The SR-71/Bowling for Soup song "1985" (released in 2004) is about a woman whose tastes are still stuck in the 1980s, which are contrasted with some very dated "current" styles from the 1990s.
  • Used intentionally in "Last Friday Night" by Katy Perry. The people in the video look like they're straight out of the very 1980s Revenge of the Nerds... spreading the word via very 2010s social media, giving an example of the 20-year rule of coolness.
  • The videos for The Lonely Island songs for "Dick in a Box", "Motherlovers," and "3-Way" go straight for the full '90s style. The clothes, the hair, the interior decorations, and even the backgrounds in the outdoor shots are as '90s as possible.
  • '80s style Synth-Pop is still big in Europe, particularly in Germany. While the style faded out of popularity in the U.S., there it branched out into EBM and futurepop, still retaining a very '80s feel in most cases. Makes sense because that's where the style really originated.
  • Power metal is still very popular in some areas. Scandinavia in particular is home to many bands whose style derives from '80s metal bands like Scorpions.
  • The Eurovision Song Contest is often about twenty years behind what is actually popular in Europe simply to garner as much mass appeal as possible (and perhaps for the Camp factor). Lampshaded in Love Love Peace Peace, a 2016 interval act describing a perfect Eurovision song:
    [...] this can easily be fixed by adding a DJ who pretends to scratch. In real life, of course, this is thirty years old, but in Eurovision, it will give your number a contemporary feel.
  • Fifties revival bands like Showaddywaddy and Darts were big in Britain in the Seventies.
  • An early phase of Jamaican music, ska, was very popular on the island between 1962 and 1965. When the craze died out and got replaced by reggae, many Jamaicans felt it was old-fashioned ever since. In England ska has remained popular until deep in the 1980s.
  • In the Eighties, every Indie band wanted to be either the Velvet Underground or The Byrds. Some particularly enterprising bands wanted to be both.
  • In The '90s, every Grunge band wanted to be Black Sabbath. In The 2000s, every indie band wanted to be Joy Division or Gang of Four.
  • The oldest songs that modern Country Music stations will play are generally from the '90s, with the new material almost indistinguishable from the old. Likewise, "classic country" formats rarely venture beyond the end of The '80s, outside a handful of chestnuts. In fact, the nostalgia is a big selling point of the music, with longing for a simpler time a common lyrical theme. There's also another reason for this; in the early '90s there was a massive shift of pop influence in country while the previously separate Southern Rock was rolled in and the linked Western genre was almost completely abandoned. This changed the entire sound of the Top 40 part of the genre. Go back further than that and the music is completely different.
  • BBC Radio Two's daytime presenter Ken Bruce has a phone-in quiz called Popmaster, in which contestants are quizzed on their knowledge of pop music. Questions are randomly allocated in blocks by year or artiste, and the listener can almost always tell the age of the contestant by the decades they know best (near perfect scores) and the ones where they flounder hopelessly. It is a rare Popmaster who is as clued up on modern music as (s)he is on the music of their youth, or vice-versa.
  • British rock singer Gary Glitter kept on with his glam rock sound and appearance all the way into the '90s, when other glam rock acts had either disbanded or altered their sound completely by the later half of the '70s. His 1991 album Leader 2 took it further with Hair Metal tracks like "The Only Way to Survive" as the genre was already being phased out in favor of Grunge at the time.
  • The 1992 debut album, Generation Terrorists, for the Manic Street Preachers featured a distinct glam rock/metal sound despite the genre having already died out on the radio by then. However the album still managed to turn in a profit from the indie crowd because of its dark themes and punk-rock edge.
  • "Tommy", the rock opera by The Who, originally opens after the First World War, which would set the main action in the late 1930s. The movie shifts the action to post-WWII. The lyrics "I think '21 is going to be a good year" are changed to '51' in the film. (1921 changed to 1951)

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Pro wrestling is often said to always be about five years (or more!) behind pop-culture wise, particularly WWF/E. Thus watching any old WWF programming until about 1995 always has a very '80s feel to it. The '90s didn't really start to kick in until the Attitude Era. In modern times, a lot of the haircuts (such as Edge and Dolph Ziggler) look like they've been time-warped from 1984. And as late as the 1990s, it was thought by many fans that women couldn't wrestle, partly because of how they were portrayed on WWE programming. Then, of course, there is the deliberate Kayfabe aspect of the shows, with everyone (including the fans!) pretending that what they're seeing is real, even though pro wresting hasn't been "real" since the 1930s at the latest. One explanation might be that Vince McMahon, who has final say on everything, is such a workaholic that he is very out of touch with modern pop culture. For example, in 1992 he had no idea that Razor Ramon was directly quoting Scarface (1983) as his gimmick.
  • Another example is when Paul Burchill started using a very tongue-in-cheek pirate gimmick in the mid 2000s, capitalizing on the Pirates of the Caribbean series at the height of their popularity. Vince had never heard of the series, and had thought that Burchill's gimmick was a throwback to pirate movies of the Sixties and Fifties. When he was told otherwise, he put the lid on the gimmick, thinking it wouldn't catch on, despite the fact that it had been going over well for a few weeks at that point.
  • Shawn Michaels was a pretty good personification of this trope all through the 1990s and the 2000s, thanks to his hair, attire and ring music, which he never changed. And everybody loved it.
  • Hulk Hogan had this problem in the mid-Nineties, as the gimmick he had in The '80s had become old and stale. He solved it by making one of the most notable Face Heel Turns in pro-wrestling history and forming the nWo, which were decidedly Nineties (they wore a lot of black and had a "graffiti" graphique). Later when he re-joined WWE he reverted to his Eighties gimmick though, by which point it was nostalgic.
  • There was also Jay Lethal's "Black Machismo" gimmick in TNA in 2010, which was literally this trope.
  • Thanks to the popularity of Jerry Lawler, Memphis-based USWA was the last full-time wrestling territory in the United States and continued to produce television straight out of the early Eighties, complete with MTV-style music videos and cartoonish gimmicks. Alas, the Monday Night Wars inadvertently led to the death of USWA, as Mondays were traditionally the promotion's biggest gates. For fans of regional promotions, it was the End of an Age.
  • Alexander Rusev is Bulgarian, but achieves most of his heel heat thanks to his manager, Lana. Billed from Moscow (though she's really from Florida), the two of them combined make a textbook example of a Cold War-era Foreign Wrestling Heel, and were modelled after Ivan and Ludmilla Drago of Rocky IV to really drive the point home. Unfortunately, a lot of things have changed since then, and they've had trouble connecting with audiences (it likely doesn't help that he didn't debut until after the 2014 Sochi Olympics, and with the Troubled Production of that event still fresh in people's minds, all of Lana's claims of Russian superiority fall a little flat.) Rusev and Lana later broke up, and now Rusev is back to billing himself as Bulgarian - which isn't too bad, since Americans don't tend to associate Bulgaria with any particular time period. As of July 2018, he has reunited once again with Lana and is one of the most over superstars with his Rusev Day movement with both her and Aiden English.

    Tabletop Games 
  • BattleTech has a "future history" covering the millennium between the game's initial publication in 1984 and the 31st century. It presumes the existence of the Soviet Union well into the 21st century. This history has not been modified to take into account the collapse of the USSR, even in the most recent publications. Word of God is that BattleTech is the future of The '80s, not the future of today.
    • Also subverted at the same time just given the nature of the game universe: Even though the above is true, since the players are going to be spending all of their in-game time anywhere on a spectrum of dates from AD 2525 to AD 3145 depending on group preference, it's 99.99999% certain that the question of whether The Great Politics Mess-Up happened or not in the BattleTech universe is never going to come into play in any given game of BattleTech.
    • The comment that BattleTech is the future of The '80s more or less defines it perfectly. The integral FTL communication system utilized in the setting is little more than a glorified interstellar FAX machine. Battlefield warfare and technologies are more along the lines of the early Cold War and late World War methodologies (especially in regard to weapon performance). Digitizing of mechanical components never became prevalent. When looking at the earlier editions of BattleTech, and seeing the technological fluff changes made in more recent versions, one can really see how much advances made in the '90s really changed society.

    Theatre 
  • The 2014 Festigal has a song called ‘The Selfie Song’. It has some outdated slang, breakdancing (which hasn’t been in vogue in Israel since The Noughties), cheesy ‘90s-style abundance of clashing colours, a misinterpretation of ‘selfie’ as a picture in a particular pose (tongue sticking out with a wide smile, shot from above), mentioning a children’s show that hasn’t aired in years, ending with a New Media Are Evil message. Naturally, the song got negative reviews all around.

    Theme Parks 
  • For all the grief The Simpsons gets for this (see further down), it can be right on in mocking this in some contexts. The "Special Edna" episode from the 14th season has the characters visiting Disney World and EPCOT Center, where Marge and Lisa go on the "World of Tomorrow" ride: '"what the people in 1965 thought the world would be like in 1987." It shows movies of giant robots with the Eastern Airlines logo enslaving people and taking over the world — a perfect parody of the Tomorrowland aesthetic.

    Video Games 
  • Metal Gear's vision of 20 Minutes into the Future (and even The '60s and The '70s, to some extent) is mostly based on late Eighties and Nineties sci-fi movies - things like Total Recall (1990), Max Headroom and Blade Runner. The visual aesthetic, the fashionable clothes and body types (not to mention the hairstyles on the men), the politics, the themes, the Shout Outs and the sense of humour are all based on that tradition. Part of this is Zeerust Canon and is why Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty moved away from the aesthetic a little, but Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots goes back the other way and invokes it as deliberate Zeerust.
  • The Phillips CD-I game Hotel Mario played a lot like a simple '80s arcade game. When The Angry Video Game Nerd reviewed it he said it would have been a better game if it had come out ten years earlier (it came out in 1994).
  • Similarly, by many accounts Duke Nukem Forever could have been a fine game if it had actually come out when it was supposed to (constant shifting of when that was notwithstanding). Instead, it features gameplay design elements (not to mention references) that by its 2011 release were almost a decade old even at most recent.
  • Though set in the 1990s and made in 1994, the world of EarthBound still bears more resemblance to the Eighties. No one seems to have personal computers, some of the language (in the English version) falls into Totally Radical territory, and Ness's attire isn't all that different from that of his predecessor Ninten, whose game actually was set and made in the Eighties; most other characters' attire is also quite Eighties-like.
  • Done deliberately in Bully. While set in the present day, the greaser gang looks like it stepped out of American Graffiti or West Side Story, the cars look like they're from The '80s, the computers look like they're from The '90s at the latest, and nobody has an MP3 player or a cellphone (though it is mentioned that they're banned at Bullworth High School). Word of God is that this was deliberate, so as to not date the game to a particular era. Their intention was to make the setting nostalgic for the childhood of a wide range of age demographics.
  • Although Persona 4 explicitly takes place in 2011, the game has something of a charmingly-lame retro vibe to showcase how rural and rustic Inaba is — most of the characters seem to still own cheap CRT TVs (although the rise of high-definition TVs is a minor plot point, particularly when one character's family upgrades to an HD set in Persona 4: Arena), buildings have subdued, brownish color schemes, and there don't seem to be any computers in town at all. This manifests itself for the audience too, with the synth-heavy J-rock soundtrack and the bright yellow interface. Word of God said this was inspired at least partially by Chie and her attire, a bright green jersey jacket decorated with tacky pins. This is also a deliberate contrast to the ultramodern big city Tatsumi Port Island from the previous installment.
  • It's very common for older game reviewers to fall back on popular cliches and stereotypes in their reviews, even long after they've been discredited. For example, many reviewers still describe gamers as "basement-dwelling teenage outcasts," even though it's been decades since video games had that stigma attached to them (if they ever did to begin with). Lampshaded in this IGN article.
  • Command & Conquer: Generals: While the American faction uses 20 Minutes into the Future-appropriate high-tech units (tanks with anti-missile lasers, vehicle-deployed drones, supersonic bombers), the Chinese faction uses a slightly more realistic version of the Soviet Superscience C&C is known for (such as nuclear powered tanks and artillery, infantry doctrines that boil down to We Have Reserves, MiG fighters...).
  • Impossible to avoid in Spyro Reignited Trilogy, which features a remake of a game from 1999 with changes to some designs but none of the script. Hunter still acts like the Totally Radical Turn of the Millennium Dumb Jock stereotype he was in the original. He also still gives his birth year as '75, which put him in his mid-20s at the time the game first came out but now makes him seem like a mid-40s Manchild.

    Visual Novels 
  • The Ace Attorney games were created in 2001, but take place in 2016 onwards - yet you wouldn't think so at first. They seem more to be Four Decades Behind and think they're still working on 1980s/1990s technology because their world still has the regular old cellphones with MIDI-formatted ringtones instead of smartphones; pictures are still taken via film, not digital cameras, and all come out in black and white; phone booths also seem to be still around. The majority of these things had already disappeared by the time the games were made.

    Web Comics 
  • A lot of the guys' hairstyles early in El Goonish Shive are very '90s (but probably were still in style in 2002). Buried within the strip's Art Evolution, Elliot's mullet and Justin's two-level bowlcut have been changed to styles which are less Frozen in Time, while Tedd's iconic, grape-jelly colored shoulder-length curtains stayed for years until he gave himself an Important Haircut. Of course, in-universe just over a year has passed.
  • In a strip of Peter and Company, Peter claims to have spent his youth playing 1980s LCD games, even though he was born 20 years too late to have done so.
  • Mocked in a strip of Shortpacked!.
  • Ménage à 3, and its spin off Sticky Dilly Buns, are about casts of twenty-somethings - whose musical tastes (and chosen styles when they play music themselves) tend towards things like Glam Rock and Classic Rock, despite claims that one lead character is a "punk rock chick". Some characters might just have retro tastes, but this seems to be a consistent pattern. Likewise, at least one character references TV shows such as Three's Company, Magnum, P.I., Columbo, and Kojak. It's a reasonable guess that the writers are older than their characters. Gisele Lagacé, the author of both comics, was once part of a glam rock band herself.note . A strong case of Write What You Know.
  • In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, it's been long established that Molly (an artificial creature less than a year old) educated herself through any books, TV shows, or what have you that she could get her hands on, and thus peppers her speech with references to works from throughout history - but a disproportionate number of them seem to be from the Eighties. It is finally explained that Bob obsessively videotaped shows throughout his childhood, and that he still has that old VHS collection in the basement. Molly has watched countless hours of this stuff, much of it at high speed.

    Web Original 
  • Survival of the Fittest's v4 prom had started out with this trope, because much of the music requested early on consisted of '80s releases.
  • Cracked:
    • This trope is discussed in the article, "7 Ridiculously Outdated Assumptions Every Movie Makes". The example that most fits this is #2, which discusses how high school pranks are often seen as extremely funny in movies, but in real life nowadays students will get arrested for less. Pre-Columbine, the pranks would not have been perceived this way. But even pre-Columbine, there was far less tolerance for high school pranks than there used to be. This is due mostly to the birth of the Self-Esteem Generation (basically anybody born from about 1975 to 1995 was a part of this), the various child/teen-related social issues that sprung up during the '80s (AIDS, molestation, etc.), and the fact that by about 1980 school teachers could no longer enforce physical punishment on students. In fact, one of the central points of Dazed and Confused (made in 1993) is to glorify the comparable freedom teenagers had during the mid-'70s.
    • Cracked itself might actually count as an example. Since the majority of their writers and their audience are in the late-'20s and early-'30s demographic, the majority of their articles reference Eighties pop culture, with references to the likes of He-Man, ThunderCats, and the Eighties versions of Transformers and the like.
  • Ironically, the site The New Gay, active from 2007 to 2011, was devoted to critiquing a "mainstream" gay culture that had died out by the early eighties. As far as one could tell from that site, the intervening quarter century of gay culture had not happened.
  • This page! Look over it and notice that most of the examples here are from the 1980s and 1990s, because that's when most tropers were growing up.
  • The NSA website for kids is an egregious example. Clicking through you'd think the site was created in the late '90s, because the cartoon mascots and graphics were dated for 2001. Look closely - ''this site was made in 2016 - and has presumably been updated at some point between then and this writing (2017).
  • The /r/music subreddit is widely derided for its focus on classic rock.
  • Wikipedia's formality and "Verifiability, not truth" policy often leaves its pages on slang terms empty and out of date. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rice_burner, their page on rice burners, and compare to that of This Very Wiki.

    Western Animation 
  • Numerous Western Animation series in the 1990s and early 2000s, including Daria and the Hey Arnold! movie, involved stories about a shopping mall opening or being planned in the local community. In reality, the boom in shopping mall construction was between the mid-1950s and the early 1980s, with a huge spike in shopping mall construction in the 1970s. At the time many shows featuring these plots aired, The Mall was already starting to die off, thanks to a combination of overzealous developers, the rising prominence of "big box" stores, and by decade's end, the rise of e-commerce. In the meanwhile, shopping malls were already beginning to decrease in popularity among young people. The rest is a Foregone Conclusion.
  • The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are still Totally Radical, as well as bodacious, awesome, tubular and like, cowabunga, dude. This may be a Grandfather Clause, though. Also, in more recent adaptations, Michelangelo is the only one who's still Totally Radical, and the others usually mock him for it. In Turtles Forever the 2003 versions of the Turtles openly mocked the 1980s Turtles for it.
  • In an episode of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy the three main characters go to an old folks' home for monsters. Dracula, Blacula, the Wolf Man and the Bride of Frankenstein are all treated as "Classic" monsters (fair enough) but the "New, Modern" monsters are Freddy and Jason. The episode aired in 2005, after several generations of horror fads had come and gone since the old supernatural slashers of the 1980s. Although this may be partially justified in that they were portrayed more as the new classic movie monsters, and the fact that they're in the old folks' home in the first place acknowledges their age.
  • Family Guy does this intentionally, as many of its gags are reliant on nostalgic pop culture references, particularly from the 1980s.
    • For example, a gag in the episode "Big Man on Hippocampus" (which aired in 2010) has Richard Dawson as the current host of Family Feud (despite the fact that, outside a brief return in 1994, he hadn't hosted since 1985), John Hughes referenced at a rapid-fire pace, Macho Man Randy Savage cutting promos at live wrestling events, and O.J. Simpson's case treated like a current event. The fact that all of the high school scenes look like they're straight out of an '80s teen film might be intentional.
    • In a rather weird example (to anyone who's Catholic, at least), depictions of the Pope tend to be of a rather generic guy with an Italian accent, when the last Italian Pope was John Paul I in 1978. (Pope Francis is ethnically Italian, however.)
    • Quagmire's house is almost entirely Mid-Century designed. Justified in that he acts like a 1950s-era hustler.
  • Betty Boop was an Older Than Television example of this, being a flapper throughout The '30s when flappers were more popular during the '20s.
  • The Disney Channel's Disney BLAM, which consists of scenes from Classic Disney Shorts dubbed over with a Totally Radical narration explaining why each scene is funny, seem to be made with the idea that it's still the early Nineties.
  • Whatever Happened to... Robot Jones? does this seemingly intentionally, with an art style and musical sequences seemingly inspired from Schoolhouse Rock. Episodes also feature floppy disks, Rubik's cubes, and characters with Devo hats and Venetian blinds glasses, despite the show being made in the early 2000s. It even has curiously low-quality and grainy audio.
  • Archer is... confusing timeline-wise. Computers look like they come from the early '80s, and the KGB still exists. Cars and planes tend to look like they come from the '60s and '70s. Meanwhile, all the characters carry up-to-the-second cellphones.
  • In The Angry Beavers, the forest animals (and humans) are still stuck in The '70s.
  • The Simpsons:
    • One of the main problems people have with the later seasons is that, even when the show attempts to tackle current events and issues (such as social networking), it still seems stuck in the late-'80s and early-'90s with its depictions of things like family dynamics (almost all households have first-married parents, something that hasn't been the case since the early 70s — since the mid-90s, it has been more of an exception than the rule) and work politics (Homer was briefly shop steward in an episode aired in 1993, a time when union membership had almost disappeared).
    • The writing staff of the show are mostly Baby Boomers, including Matt Groening himself, which explains the countless 1960s and 1970s references on the show, especially targeting hippies, Richard Nixon, the original Star Trek, The Beatles, The Vietnam War and old TV series that are no longer in syndication and thus completely lost on younger audiences. A particular example of this is the 2018 episode "Homer Is Where the Art Isn't" which was basically an extended parody/homage to the early 1970s detective series Banacek.
    • Bart and Lisa (and all the other kids in Springfield) watch The Krusty the Klown Show, a live action children's show with cartoons in-between, a format similar to The Bozo Show and Captain Kangaroo. Such programs were extremely common in The '50s and The '60s (surviving through the 70s and 80s in smaller UHF/independent stations) but went extinct by The Nineties with the imposition of E/I guidelines and the rise of "trash talk" shows, and are now remembered mainly through parodies if at all. Bart and Lisa also watch Merchandise-Driven Saturday Morning Cartoons, which were current when The Simpsons premiered but later lost their popularity and cultural significance and were essentially killed off in 2014 by the combined factors of children's cable networks/on-demand programming and streaming, and the E/I guidelines that killed daytime kids shows.
    • Krusty himself became an example as years went by, as while he was (alongside with Pennywise) a key factor in the decline of portrayals of good-natured clowns, the modern perception that all harlequins are evil made him a relic of another era. His many parallels with Jerry Lewis don't help either.
    • Similarly, Itchy & Scratchy are a parody of violent cat-and-mouse cartoons like Tom & Jerry. Since the late 1990s, most animated shows have featured human characters instead of Funny Animals, mostly except for "legacy" series.
    • This also leads to some characters and satires that were topical in their day and non sequitur today. For instance, Dr. Hibbert and Rainier Wolfcastle are walking references to Bill Cosby and Arnold Schwarzenegger, still kicking around years after The Cosby Show aired its finale (and Bill became notorious for his harassment cases) and Arnold switched to politics.
    • The Simpson family dutifully goes to church every Sunday even as Marge has become the only religious Simpson (aside from the Buddhist Lisa). Once upon a time (between the 1930s and 1960s), even families that weren't necessarily religious would go to church at least for appearances' sake, but this had largely disappeared by the 1970s, as social mores changed. And by the 1990s, religious people would increasingly not consider themselves as "practicing" believers (as in, actually participating in faith-related activities). These days, it's easier to find practicing Christians who don't attend church regularly than it is to find non-religious people who do, if there are any.
    • Marge is a particular example: Her extremely anachronistic beehive (an exaggerated version of what creator Matt Groening's own mother wore in The '60s) sticks like a sore thumb as women's hairstyles have gotten simpler since the 1990s. And she's still a housewife, something that was already becoming outdated in the 1970s and 1980s with the rise of working mothers. In addition, the writers tended to give her the kind of tastes and interests more suited to their own parents' generation.
    • Most TV sets during the "standard definition" era (including the Simpsons' own) sported the look of those from the 50s and 60s. This was later averted by the 2010s, when flat screens were adopted.
    • For a time, literally the only thing consistently modern about The Simpsons was the presence of touch-tone telephones... and they still had the classic "Bell-style" design and the "ring-a-ling-a-ling" chiming sound instead of the more modern looks and electronic "chirp-a-chirp-a-chirp" ringtone many phones had in 1989. Even as smartphones became common in the show, most telephones are still of the kind you might see in media from the 50s and 60s. Of course, this could be due to The Coconut Effect: modern-day phones just look and sound too "futuristic" to be "real".
    • The depiction of computers is often quite behind the times: a 1995 episode had Homer working with an early 80s-looking PC while a mid-2000s episode had Marge winning a Mac looking like the late 90s-era iMac.
    • The most glaring discrepancy is that of the early years of Homer and Marge, who (according to the show's original early '90s Canon) graduated from high school in 1974 and married in 1980, with Bart being born in 1981 and Lisa about two years after that. That timeframe obviously became completely unworkable long ago (by the mid-2010s, neither of them would have even been born in 1974), and yet flashbacks to Homer's adolescence will still show him with '70s Hair, and Marge still likes Disco music.
    • Note that things got more complicated when the season 19 episode "That '90s Show" effectively retconned the timeframe of Homer's and Marge's romance as having taken place in the '90s, at the height of the Grunge era. Yet in the following seasons, this was disregarded by the show's writers.
    • "Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie" is also very out-dated, even when it first aired. Bart is not allowed to see the Itchy & Scratchy movie in the cinema and thus misses what seems to be the greatest movie in the world. After a while the movie theaters stop playing it and it disappears out of the public eye. Bart never manages to see the movie until Homer finally takes him to see it in the future when the local movie theater is playing it again. The phenomenon that you could only see films when they were playing in a local movie theatre and had no chance of seeing them again until they were reissued or showed up on TV was true in the decades before the introduction of home video... which was introduced near the end of the 1970s, while this Simpsons episode debuted in 1992!
    • Bart still writing lines on the blackboard as a punishment is another example. He lampshades this in one chalkboard gag by writing: "Do children today do this anymore?"
    • Intentionally invoked with Mr. Burns, who often references things, places, and events that have been out of existence for over half a century and thinks that they're still in use, like mentioning Siam (the country known nowadays as Thailand), Prussia (Imperial Germany) and autogyro (an early helicopter) in the same phrase.
    • When The Who guest starred in "A Tale of Two Springfields" the writers also included drummer Keith Moon, despite the fact that he had already died in 1979. They were aware of this, though, and just included him as a homage to the original group. This also explains why he has no lines.
    • In "Bart's Dog Gets an F," Lisa gets the mumps. Even in 1991, when the episode originally aired, she almost certainly would have gotten the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine (while the Simpsons often have to cut corners financially, it's mentioned many times that the kids get vaccinated, and Bart is even shown getting a rubella shot in the flashback episode "Lisa's First Word"). The vaccine came out in the early 1970s, meaning that people the age of the writing staff at the time could have had the mumps as children.
  • South Park:
    • The show also appears to fall victim to this trope. For example, Sharon Marsh and Gerald Broflovski are very stereotypical Baby Boomer parents. Even though, realistically, Stan and Kyle should have stereotypical Generation X parents, given their ages and the fact that the show takes place in the present day.
    • Not to mention that most of the show's adult figures are based on those of Trey Parker and Matt Stone's own childhoods.
    • The actors in the "Bloody Sunday" educational short look like they came from The '80s, but according to the copyright date at the end, it was produced in 2010.
    • Spoofed in "Volcano", when a volcano covers much of the town with lava and the city screens a 1950s "duck-and-cover" safety short that is so hilariously useless it actually gets more townspeople killed.
    • The two-part "Pandemic" episode arc, which aired in late 2008, showed Randy Marsh purchasing a video camcorder (a gadget that first went on the market in America in 1983) and obsessively recording everything, regardless of whether it is relevant or even particularly interesting, just as many consumers did in the early '80s. Of course, this does fit nicely with Randy's Manchild persona.
    • In one of the audio commentaries to South Park, Trey Parker and Matt Stone noted that the fact that Stan still phones Kyle by using a regular phone shows how old-fashioned they really are.
  • Regular Show seemed to be stuck in the late '80s/early '90s, judging by the technology in early episodes, from the crude 8-bit graphics in video games to the boxy computer using Windows 95 in the Park's office. It's later shown that the show does take place in the present day — Benson is just too cheap to upgrade the park's technology, while Mordecai and Rigby are old-school gamers who prefer that era.
  • Adventure Time debuted in 2010, but features cell phones and video games that look straight out of The '80s. Of course, the series is set 1000 years after an apocalyptic war; technological progress may have gone in some strange directions. One proposed explanation for this is that The Mushroom War was the Cold War ending badly, explaining the '80s tech.
  • Mocked in Phineas and Ferb when they were going to a '50s cars exposition and everybody dressed like in the Fifties. Phineas says that in the Fifties, people dressed like series from the seventies.
  • Futurama: Despite being set in a far future and the despite the fact that Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew have been dead since the 1990s and Henry Kissinger is no longer politically active, the series keeps poking fun at these politicians from the 1970s, as if there haven't been other mockable politicians around ever since.
    • Despite coming from 1999, Fry's favorite music and video games are mostly from the early to mid-Eighties (although this would line up with his childhood years, in keeping with his general Manchild qualities).
  • The 2004 Looney Tunes short "My Generation G-G-Gap" is an almost literal example of this trope. Not only does it depict music and fashions that seem straight out of 1984, but it suggests that rock and roll is still somehow controversial among parents and Moral Guardians, even though it hadn't been controversial since probably the mid-late 1980s at the latest. Even worse, your average grandparent nowadays was growing up when rock and roll was becoming popular, making the episode two generations behind.
  • For an example of an entire show falling into this, look no further than Dino Squad. It's a series about a group of Totally Radical teenagers who get the power to turn into dinosaurs and fight crime with their new powers while using severely outdated slang and delivering Anvilicious Aesops. From the tropes mentioned, you'd think it was made in The '90s, but it actually came out in 2007. Unsurprisingly, the show was a flop.
  • In The Amazing World of Gumball, the Wattersons are shown using a rotary-dial landline phone and a cartridge-based consoles straight out of the '80s. On top of landline phones becoming obsolete by 2011, video game consoles had already abandoned cartridges by the turn of the millennium note . The writers have joked on occasion that they can't remember if the show takes place in the 50s, 80s, present day, or Twenty Minutes In The Future.
    • In the season 2 episode "The Bumpkin", Idaho is largely unaware of modern society lifestyle (video games, fast food, modern metaphors, etc) despite attending a modern junior high school with Gumball. Although this is intentional as Idaho and his family are clearly Amish and that he's most likely living in Elmore as part of the Amish rite of passage Rumspringa.
    • Another season 2 episode, "The Internet", features a character whose been working in tech support since the 1980s. This is evident when he tries to help Gumball and Darwin with their computer as he's unaware of how to block pop-up adds and sends Emails through the disk drive, and even tries to delete the Internet by deleting the web browser before throwing the whole computer away in the trash. The fact that the character is a floppy disk reinforces this trope.
    • Mr. Small is the Butt-Monkey of this trope. He's a '60s flower-child hippie who's often seen driving a '60s hippie van in many episodes and gives terrible advice to the kids on account of his dated philosophies. As a result, he's often the source of many jokes in the show for how out of touch he is with society; such as trying to stop the principal from blowing up the school in a similar fashion to the Tank Man note  or by continuing to dress like a 1960s hippie all the way into Nicole and Richard's childhood. note 
  • When The Thief and the Cobbler started in 1964, it was shot with CinemaScope anamorphic lens as it was the standard film format during the time. However, by the time the movie finished production in 1993, CinemaScope had long been discontinued in favor of the more modern Panavision lens.
  • This is actually the plot for the 2019 television movie Rocko's Modern Life: Static Cling as the title character has been stranded in space for 20 years with his friends and, upon his return, becomes alienated by how drastically different and advanced society has become since the '90s.
  • Don Hertzfeldt animated his shorts using a traditional film and animation camera along with primitive special effects all the way into the early 2010s even though other indie animators had long abandoned these practices in favor of digital editing and animation programs with scanners standing in for the camera. Don eventually transitioned to digital with the 2015 short World of Tomorrow.
  • Russian animator Yuri Norshteyn has been producing a stop motion adaptation of The Overcoat since 1981 using hand-drawn cut-outs and sets along with a traditional animation camera using real film. By the time production stretched into the 2010s, cut-out animation had transitioned into flash and the film cameras needed to make the movie were long obsolete with the film development lab in Moscow he was using having gone under nearly 20 years prior. Unlike Don (see above) however, Yuri refuses to make the transition to computers as he wants to complete the film using the same process he's been using for years. As of 2017, the film is still in production and Yuri Norshteyn is considered the last animator to produce animation using pre-digital methods and technology.
  • When American Family Studios produced the Christian animated series "Ryan Defrates: Secret Agent" in 2017, they chose to officially release the show one episode at a time on DVD through their website before it was picked up by the Christian streaming service Jellytelly. While it's still common in The New '10s for some movies to skip television and cinemas for a DVD release, producing a TV series specifically for the straight-to-video market had fallen out of favor by the late 2000s as many studios found it easier and more profitable to release their shows through streaming services and the general web.
  • While adult cartoons have become more popular with general audiences since the turn of the millennium, along with the Animation Age Ghetto dying down in many parts of the world, you're still likely to come across an adult who still considers cartoons to be immature and refuses to watch any regardless if the cartoons in question are strictly targeted for adults.
  • Gravity Falls:
    • For a pre-teen girl who was canonically born in 1999, Mabel Pines' cultural tastes are notably late-twentieth-century. She's a big fan of Sev'ral Timez, a nineties-style boy band performing in 2012, she sings eighties songs on karaoke night, she dresses up as a power-suited businesswoman when she gets a chance to run the Mystery Shack, and one of her favorite movies is an old VHS of the ridiculously eighties Dream Boy High. Explained by series creator Alex Hirsch basing many aspects of the show on his own childhood in The '90s, and Mabel in particular on his twin sister.
    • Gravity Falls does avoid the "implausibly old grandparents" version of this trope, as the kids' great-uncle Stan is accurately portrayed as a Baby Boomer.
  • Steven Universe takes a lot of influence from the 1980s to early 2000s, despite being set in the 2010s. There are many Shout Outs to older media and Steven is a fan of older video game consoles (some which predate his birth). Greg and Rose's tape to Steven looks rather old and grainy despite only being filmed in the late 1990s at earliest.
  • Two More Eggs often explicitly parodies children's programming from The Eighties and The '90s, but even the segments apparently set in the present day exhibit anachronisms. Nineties-type cellular phones show up in both Hector & Kovitch and Panda Bractice, the latter centers around an Eighties-type camper, and none of the kids in either series use mobile devices or mention the Internet.

    Real Life 
  • Many expats working in Japan or China would complain of antiquated office equipment such as fax machines, the inaccessibility of ATMs during certain hours, or the nonuniversal nature of some cards ATMs won't accept, especially foreign ones, and extremely slow Internet despite Japan being a technological mecca. China has restrictive banking of bureaucratic stamping, analog police records, and use pen and paper, and in rural China some farmers continue to use old Stalin-era tractors. More rural places don't have ATMs and everything is done with cash, or even old bronze aged merchant scales. Some Chinese live in ancient mud huts that have existed since Jesus. Shanghai's Bund apartments are still inhabitable.
  • These fads often crop up at least once per decade (see also: Popularity Polynomial). In the 2000s, 1980s nostalgia became a big cultural fad, with dance clubs hosting sporadic "'80s Dance Nights" and singers like Lady Gaga and Katy Perry unabashedly embracing '80s fashion and music styling. Similarly, during the '90s, '70s nostalgia swept the nation. Hence films like Dazed and Confused, shows like That '70s Show and the fact that, at the time, you couldn't walk into a dance hall without hearing the blaring sounds of "YMCA" and "In The Navy", and people (mostly girls) started wearing bell-bottoms again. In The New '10s, while '80s nostalgia is still going pretty strong thanks to stuff like Stranger Things and the 2017 adaptation of IT receiving a Setting Update with the kids' story taking place in the '80s, '90s nostalgia is increasingly taking hold, although '90s-themed period pieces seem to be far less common than those based on the '70s and '80s, probably because the '90s are a much harder decade to accurately represent. 2000s nostalgia will probably kick in sometime after 2020.
    • Among younger people, nostalgia for the early 2000s has already started. It will probably take until about 2023/24 for 2000s nostalgia to really become omnipresent, however; it really has more to do with the age of the younger writers in media and entertainment, which tends to be 5 to 12 years older than college kids.
  • Take a look at your own grandparents. If they haven't gone completely casual for the sake of comfort or safety, they probably dress about 20 years out of date. (Their casual wear is probably outdated as well.) In The '80s, many grandmothers wore polyester dresses that looked more suited to The '50s or The '60s. The aging Casanova who dons a polyester Disco suit (complete with chest medallions) before going out on a date is also a common image from media of that era. In the 1920s, it was common in movies to portray old women wearing clothing with long skirts that wouldn't have looked out of place in the 1890s. Before the age of television or the movies, fashions dispersed very slowly. It wasn't uncommon in Renaissance Europe for people out in the countryside to dress in fashions that were about 20 years behind the clothing worn by people at court.
  • Everything about North Korea is basically this, especially because they're a totalitarian state complete with propaganda (and gulags) straight out of the eras of Stalin or Mao, and are still fighting the Cold War twenty-odd years after everyone else has given up. And that they still don't have daytime TV. If you examine the country in greater detail things get even more out of date. It is not uncommon to find trains from the Twenties or weapons from the Fifties still being used, even among comparatively more advanced hardware. Linguists have also noted the phenomena of divergence between the forms of Korean spoken in North and South Korea. Isolation and cultural divergence has led to (North) Korean perpetuating the styles and forms of the language as spoken sixty or seventy years ago. (North) Korean also lacks lots of the more-recently evolved words and phrases (neologisms) which have been coined or adapted from other languages to describe modern technology or socio-cultural evolutions. Put into Western terms, imagine a part of Britain divided by an arbitrarily chosen line, behind which people still speak like an Ealing Film character or a BBC announcer from the 1940s and which lacks phrases like home computer, mobile phone, or even the ever-changing youth slang of the decades since 1950.
  • Some computer programmers favor command-line interfaces from the '70s and '80s, especially those using UNIX-like operating systems. They also prefer minimalistic desktop environments/window managers that look like they could be from the '80s and '90s. This isn't because of nostalgia or their being 20 years old. If used by experts, CLIs can do things faster than with graphical environments. So even another two decades in the future programmers will still likely be using command-line interfaces in many situations.
  • Besides their record of racial oppression, the white minority government of South Africa during The Apartheid Era also had very conservative sensibilities, meaning that South Africa was culturally out of step with the rest of the world for a long time. How bad was it? Television wasn't introduced there until 1976!
  • Continental Europe went through this during the Second World War. The Nazi occupiers censored everything from the U.S.A. and the U.K., causing the people to fall behind five years of American popular culture. A prominent example: many Hollywood stars of the 1930s remained popular and well known in Europe because people still remembered them, while many of the new stars introduced during the early 1940s didn't quite catch on. This also explains why Laurel and Hardy, for instance, have always remained far more popular and well known there than Abbott and Costello and The Three Stooges.
  • Some post-war dictatorships in Europe during the second half of the 20th century like Spain (1936-1975), Greece (1967-1973), Portugal (1930-1974), Eastern Europe (1945-1989) were also instrumental in keeping their people stuck in traditions and not allowing every new influence inside their countries. When the regimes finally fell, the countries had a lot of technological and modern stuff to catch up to.
    • In the case of Spain the clock wasn't just stopped but turned back, with Franco expressly mentioning that he wanted to erase every influence of Liberalism rooted in Spain since the '30s... the 1830s. The Catholic Church being given an influence and privileges it had not enjoyed since the First Carlist War caused an ironic rift with the Vatican when John XXIII became Pope and the Church itself became far too liberal for its local stalwarts. Perhaps the worst legacy of the regime is that, because it was so long-lived, many people abroad still see those outdated attitudes as a normal part of Spanish culture, rather than an anomaly that was forced from the top down, and they are shocked to discover that Spanish society has long moved past that kind of attitudes in the four decades since the dictator died.
    • Ironically, this has led in some cases to nostalgia for the days of communism not merely among communists (for obvious reasons), but also among right-wing traditionalists and reactionaries, who see the Iron Curtain as having kept out the "decadent" culture of the West. Some on the Western far-right have taken a similar view; the American white supremacist Richard Spencer, for instance, is quoted as saying that communism protected Russia from what he regards as an even greater menace in Western liberalism, leaving behind a nation where it was still the '50s in terms of its social mores.
  • Being a bit behind on the rest of the world is often mocked as being something that's only unique to Third World countries or isolated dictatorships. In reality many innovations and trends take some time to leave their country of origin and become famous, popular or actively used in the rest of the world. Some examples:
    • Many television series have only been imported by certain countries after two or three seasons or long after the series in their entirety has ended. For instance: The Simpsons was only broadcast on Belgian television in 1995, almost five years after the first season debuted in the U.S.! And this is especially strange, since some of the neighboring countries, like France, were already broadcasting it as early as 1991. Monty Python's Flying Circus had already ended in the United Kingdom before it first premiered in the U.S.A. in 1975, nearly six years after it premiered in the U.K. and had already taken Western Europe by storm. Fawlty Towers (1975-1979) got its U.S. premiere in the second half of the 1980s. Due to the controversial episode "The Germans", Fawlty Towers wouldn't be broadcast in Germany until the 2000s.
    • The Beatles were already popular in Great Britain in 1962, before they went global in 1964.
    • Reggae music had been popular in Jamaica since the late 1960s, before it finally caught on outside the Carribean and into the rest of the world in the mid 1970s.
    • Tintin was already popular in Europe in the 1930s, before it was finally exported to the U.S.A. in the 1950s.
    • The Smurfs were introduced in 1958 and a big hit in Europe by the 1970s. Only when Hanna & Barbera turned it into an animated TV series in 1981 did the blue people become huge in the Americas as well.
    • This delay in importing media can result in an Import Filter; if a country only exports the media that falls in the 10% of good content, and do so with the 10% of many decades all at once, people in the other country may assume that media in the first country is all good, even if they're only being spared the bad stuff.
  • Life in Cuba also feels two decades behind. Since the revolution of 1959 many old-timer cars are still in use and since the fall of communism in 1989 it really feels as if time stood still there.
  • Chernobyl in Ukraine is another, more eerie example of a location where time stood still. After the nuclear disaster in 1986 all villagers were quickly deported outside the danger zone and left everything behind. Today Chernobyl is a ghost town where many things still remind visitors of a typical Communist village, with flags, statues and pictures of Lenin and the Red Banner.
  • The enthusiasm for vinyl is an interesting example. Even though CDs are more durable and have a much crisper and clearer sound, LPs are still collected by aficionados out of Nostalgia Filter.
    • There's another big reason for the resurgence of vinyl, and that's the Loudness War. While CDs definitely do have the potential to have better quality than vinyl records, the reality is that, since the 1990s, it has become increasingly common in the music industry to release songs that feature maxed-out volumes and non-existent dynamics, a major pet peeve for audiophiles. For technical reasons, this type of mastering is possible on magnetic and digital formats but not on vinyl (as the grooves would cause the needle to jump or skip), which along with the general perception that vinyl is the audiophile medium, results in extremely loud CDs and digital downloads but more reasonably mastered LPs.
  • The Morris, Minnesota Police Department has put out this warning about calling 1-900 phone numbers. 900 numbers disappeared in the late nineties.
  • Take a look at the specifications of the electronic hardware (CPU power, resolution of the CCDs of their camera(s), etc) used by spacecrafts, manned or not, and you'll find they look outdated even by the standards of the epoch of their launch. The reason of this is two-fold: 1) Since space is one of the harshest environments knownnote  and you cannot (yet) send a technician to, say, Mars to fix something that has broken, the most resilient, thoroughly tested, and reliable, not the latest, hardware is used, and 2) Manufacturing an -upgraded or not- instrument ex-profeso for a space mission costs a lot of (very scant) money, takes time, and would require a redesign of the spacecraft, its software, etc, that means even more money and time.
  • A lot of Windows installations in businesses are at least one generation behind the latest version. Many companies held onto Windows XP for a long time until Microsoft finally dropped support in 2014. Even when XP was first introduced, a lot of businesses were still rolling out Windows 2000. The simple reason is similar to the NASA example: most corporate IT departments favor reliability over novelty and newer OS versions will have more bugs that need to be worked out than the tried-and-tested older version. Case in point: the standard IT answer if a user wants to know when the company's upgrading to the brand new OS? It won't even be considered until about 6 months after the first service pack is released.
  • A lot of expats can find themselves out of sync with the culture of their home countries when they return, though the Internet makes it easier to keep in touch with what's going on back home much more easily these days.
  • Due to the advanced age of many of the justices, U.S. Supreme Court decisions often reflect an outdated understanding of how things happen:
    • In his dissent from United States v. Thirty-Seven Photographs, a 1971 case about the Customs Service's confiscation of the titular objects as obscene, Justice Hugo Black writes that "it gives little comfort to an American bringing a book home to Colorado or Alabama for personal reading to be informed without explanation that a 74-day delay at New York harbor is not 'undue'". By that era Americans were returning from trips overseas via planes, not ships.
    • At the end of that decade, Smith v. Maryland held that it was constitutional for police to collect what we would today call telephone metadata (basically, at the time, length of calls and number called) without a warrant, since, as Chief Justice Warren Burger wrote, "it is doubtful that telephone users have any expectation of privacy over the numbers they dial." While he was correct that the technology that made billing possible at the time meant that users had to be able to infer that at least the long-distance numbers they called were recorded, his understanding might have been colored by having grown up in the era when human operators always answered whenever you picked up - someone who grew up in a dial-tone era might have been less likely to infer this.
    • The Court's justification for letting the Paula Jones lawsuit that ultimately led to Bill Clinton's impeachment and trial was that "it is unlikely to take up much of the President's time." That was written in the mid-1990s by Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who had last practiced law in the early 1960s; whatever they thought of Clinton and the lawsuit, lawyers of the era who were familiar with what litigation had become could not help but laugh at that statement.
  • This Vulture article from 2016 theorises why 1980s nostalgia has persisted throughout the early 21st Century. To name just two factors: Generation X "showrunners and creators and executives — and audience members! — are at a place where their own personal history has merged with 'nostalgia'", which happened to be during the 1980s; and the mass availability of the Internet which "disrupted the every-20-years cycle that used to be the standard."
    • Writer and journalist P.H. Davies comes to a similar conclusion, going as far as describing the 1980s as "the new 1950s".
    • Similarly, Lindsay Ellis analyzes this phenomenon (albeit, going more by a "Thirty Year Cycle" than a twenty-year one) in her video essay "Stranger Things, IT and the Upside-Down of Nostalgia", pointing out that people in general tend to look to the past as a way to make sense of the present, and with the way things have been in the middle of The New '10s, nostalgia provides both some sort of comfort for simpler times and as a mirror to the present.

    Other 
  • Pick any feel-good Christmas special out there, set anywhere near to the present day, in any supposed geographic area. In terms of scenery, dress, manners of speaking, and toys, you will immediately be transported to A: Mid-1800s London a la Charles Dickens with carolers, long scarves, and lovable chimney sweeps, B: 1950s New York City with picturesque store front windows to look in through and sidewalks to stroll down merrily, C: 1950s New England small town with rolling hills, stone walls, and early snowfall for sledding, or D: A combination of all three. A fourth locale — a small town in the Colorado Rockies with snow-dusted fir trees and Country Music on the soundtrack, set in some vague period between 1970 and 1995 — also seems to have gained traction starting around the Turn of the Millennium.
    • This is more because Christmas specials are usually gunning for the appeal of works such as A Christmas Carol, Miracle on 34th Street, and It's a Wonderful Life (and, increasingly, '70s and '80s Christmas specials hosted by the likes of John Denver, Dolly Parton, Bob Hope, and Bing Crosby, hence the late 20th century Rocky Mountain setting). Probably also because Christmas specials have to try their absolute damnedest to be as close to timeless as possible. Since Christmas movies are only shown for a short window between November and December and are then shoved into the mothballs for 10 to 11 months, their most viable way of becoming profitable is to try and be played year after year. Unfortunately, this makes them incredibly vulnerable to Technology Marches On, as any kind of expensive toy or gadget the kids are desperate for can easily become laughably antiquated in that time span. To avoid making a Christmas special look like it's past its sell by date, most specials try to remove as many of their modern trappings as they can, and instead aim for a retro-nostalgia feel, even if it does take place in the then-modern day.
    • Likewise, nearly any Christmas album will often have a lush, orchestral, 1950s vibe for much of the same reasons, especially if the songs being covered come from approximately that generation (e.g. "Santa Baby"). Holiday tunes written from The '90s onwards revived the "wall of sound" aesthetic of early 1960s songs (eventually making it popular for female singers), most notably on Mariah Carey's definitive "All I Want For Christmas Is You" and Kelly Clarkson's "Underneath the Tree".
  • Much like Christmas, Halloween gets hit with this. Trick or treating kids are still often left unsupervised, trick-or-treat until the wee hours of the morning, and will frequently get into some kind of trouble at an old haunted building. Nowadays, as anybody who groans about how "Halloween ain't what it used to be!" will tell you, most trick or treating only lasts a few short hours (occasionally being completed before sunset), is completely supervised, often doesn't even take place outdoors (shopping malls are considered much safer), and it's increasingly rare to find spooky old buildings that aren't torn down or turned into tourist attractions (the old standby of "abandoned insane asylum" has been long dead.) Furthermore, there's usually a surprising lack of store-bought licensed costumes in favor of kids having a large number of hand-made and generic costumes, such as "cowboy", "princess", and "pirate".
    • The latter could be justified by Small Reference Pools and Viewers Are Morons; you don't want all your viewers scratching their heads over some "obscure" pop-culture icon. (Noted in a Mad Magazine spoof of Halloween in which a kid goes trick-or-treating as SpongeBob SquarePants and is annoyed that one middle-aged man giving him candy refers to him as "Little Yellow Thing"). It could also be a result of concerns about copyright. A show or a movie might not be allowed to show kids dressed as licensed characters if they don't have the rights to do so.
  • Ask any young guy about knitters and he'll trot out the stereotype of old, grey-haired ladies hunched up in the corner with their straight needles and yarn, making something for their 84 cats. But the typical knitter these days in real life is in her (or his) twenties and is probably a bit of a Granola Girl. The stereotype comes directly from the minds of fiftysomething writers, who remember when young career women were warned against taking up "old-lady" hobbies like knitting if they wanted to be taken seriously - back in The '70s. Times have changed, guys.
  • Actually, any portrayal of grandparents in the media (or anyone over 65, but those with grandchildren in particular). The media forget alarmingly easily that someone who was 70 in 2010 was born in 1940 and was therefore 20 in 1960.
    • In fact, seniors were portrayed for decades as people who thought it was still the Eighties — the Eighteen-Eighties, with Grandpa vividly recalling the days of the Wild West, if not the Civil War, and Granny spending her time on the rocking chair, sporting a black Victorian dress, a shawl and an iron gray bun on her hair. By the time this concept ceased to be common (between the 1970s and 1980s), there were few, if any, people alive who remembered life before the telephone, electricity, the automobile and the airplane.
    • Since the 1980s, the common portrayal of retirees has become that of people who lived through the Great Depression and World War II: Gramps wears suspenders and bowties and Grandma's graying hair has a light blue tint and would never think of using anything other than a long skirt. They listen to music by Swing-era artists like Benny Goodman or Glenn Miller and have a total aversion to any music popular after 1964, and are extremely nostalgic for their youth.
    • The "having lived through the Depression" thing and that seniors are frugal pretty much highlighted their differences with baby boomers, who never experienced such financial hardship and lacked their elders' economic discipline. This would be flipped after the Great Recession, with the grandparents wondering why the kids are so cautious with their money.
    • While many shows still depict grandfathers of small children being World War II veterans, this is highly unlikely in reality, and nowadays it would be their fathers who fought in World War II (Living great-grandparents remain extremely rare in TV and movies even though they are becoming increasingly common in real life).
    • Nowadays Grandad would have sported a long mane and flares in his youth, while Gran would have likely wore a miniskirt and go-go boots (also, bowties and long skirts are no longer signs of the wearer being old). Oddly, it's just as likely they have adopted more formal clothing, either because they outgrew the "teen rebellion" stuff or they never liked modern clothing at all. Others might be rebelling against the new norm — You'll see some former 1960s student radicals-turned-college professors who still have long hair and/or beards, but teach their classes in fussy suits with leather patches on the elbows. Others just feel more comfortable that way.
    • The cultural preferences of elderly people might be one of the most egregious cases of The Coconut Effect: A 65-year-old man in the late 2010s would have been listening to The Beatles or The Who in his youth, but it would be less believable than having him listen to 1920s or 1930s jazz and swing (unless it's being depicted with a certain amount of irony) might be jarring to the average viewer. This is partly because of the endless media depictions of seniors, but also because most creatives are Baby Boomers — a generation that has notoriously attempted to stay young for almost half a century. And as a result of the latter, rock has gotten a cross-generational appeal while Big Band music hasn't really aged well, ergo, it's just funnier to see the "out-of-touch" granny cuttin' the rug to the music of Harry James than rockin' out to Led Zeppelin. This has also made it a lot easier to get the rights to music by Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman than to the music by The Beatles or The Doors.
      • And speaking of music, what sitcom or family drama would be complete without parents, or grandparents, expressing how much they hate their kid's/grandkid's "loud music"? In the 21st century, the fact a middle-aged person would have been in the perfect target demographic for quintessentially loud bands like KISS, Led Zeppelin, or even The Who, at the same time popular music has turned to electronica and hip-hop has made the whole "these kids and their loud noises" business quite hilarious (For instance, shock rocker and heavy metal pioneer Alice Cooper (born in 1948) once mentioned in an early 2000s interview, that when his teenage son was playing music in his room, Alice would frequently bang on the door and say "Turn that UP!!!"). Although many of them do actually dislike music being played loudly because their hearing is not as good as they were.
    • While many old persons were around during the days radio wasn't just music and news, or at least when I Love Lucy and The Honeymooners first aired, this doesn't mean all seniors remember them, nor wax lyrically about their youth. In recent years, elderly people have increasingly began to enjoy modern pop culture alongside their children and grandchildren (and unlike media examples, this does not involve taking disco dancing lessons), in great part to avoid all the stereotypes around them.
    • The film The Book of Eli had an amusing subversion of this. The elderly cannibal couple George and Martha decide to play some "soothing" music from their childhoods when Eli and Solara stop at their farmhouse — namely, the classic 1979 disco track "Ring My Bell" by Anita Ward. Since the film is set thirty years After the End (implied to have occurred in the present day of 2010), then George and Martha, implied to be in their seventies, would've both been kids or at least teenagers during the disco era.
  • A funny example of this happened involving the Grammy Awards. Deciding to keep up with the times, they decided to start awarding a Grammy for Best Disco Recording. Problem being, they didn't decide to create the category until 1980, a full year after Disco Demolition Night and long after disco was declared dead. The award was discontinued the next year, and "I Will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor has the odd distinction of being the first, last, and only winner of a Best Disco Grammy.
  • Names of young kid and teenager characters in TV and movies will often be the names that were popular when the writers or showrunner was born/young and not names that were popular/widely used when the characters were born. For example two characters that Judith Barsi played were named "Lori Beth" and "Debbie" — names much more used for little girls in The '50s than for a little girl in The '80s. Modern Family had a teenage guest character called Rhonda... about fifty years after that name was popular for girls. Current shows are distinctly lacking in Makaylas and Isabellas, two names popular in the mid 00s.
  • Whenever a kid is grounded in a TV show, the standard punishment is almost always "no TV for a month" instead of cutting off Internet access or similar. (Justifiable if the Internet is banned in their household.)
  • In 1982, the right-wing Dartmouth Review ran an infamous editorial questioning whether black students admitted to Dartmouth under affirmative action were really qualified to be at the Ivy League school. The editorial is not referred to as "infamous" today because of that—the sentiment was hardly unique at that time. It was unique, instead, because it was titled "Dis Sho' Ain't No Jive, Bro" and written entirely in what the editors seemed to think was contemporary African American vernacular English. However, sentences like the title and "Now we be comin' to Dartmut and be up over our 'fros in studies, but we still be not graduatin' Phi Beta Kappa" revealed that, as much as the authors might have claimed their inspiration was that "jive" scene in Airplane!, their ideas of black American colloquial speech were at best a few years out of date (having been repopularized by the blaxploitation movement) and at worst seemed to come straight from 1930s-era Stepin Fetchit movies or minstrel shows.
  • Shows that parody John Travolta (Like South Park or Family Guy) usually portray him with a thick accent that he hasn't had since the eighties.
  • Whenever Michael Jackson is imitated people will shout shamone at one point, a phrase he only used in his Bad era.
  • Often teenage girls are shown "crushing" on actors/singers that haven't been considered "young and sexy" for one or two decades. Modern teens still apparently think Tom Cruise or Brad Pitt are hot (both are now in their 50s) while teen girls in the '90s still thought Donnie Osmond was a dreamboat.
  • If a character is shown collecting vinyl records, chances are it'll be a baby boomer dad hopelessly stuck in the past. These days, vinyl fans are more likely to be twentysomething hipsters.
  • The Cold War ended over two decades ago but you wouldn't know it with the antagonism between Russia and the West.
  • Any kind of official signage. Railway crossing warning signs depicted a steam train for decades, and "No cellphone"-signs still show 1990s-era bricks with actual buttons and antennas instead of smartphones. (Granted, modern bullet trains and smartphones might not be as iconic, either.)
    • In the UK, the Top-Up logo is still an old late 90s/mid 2000s phone with an antenna. Strange, given that most phones in the UK as of 2016 are smartphones.
    • Modern Computers will still use a floppy disk icon for saving a file. The first USB drive, which replaced the floppy disk's function was introduced in 2000 for commercial use. By 2007, computer manufactures have stopped incorporating floppy drives into their commercial hardware... you need to buy a USB attachment if you need to access an old floppy disk!
  • Representations of high school cheerleading tend to be stuck in the 1970s or 1980s, when all cheerleaders did was chant and wave pompoms. Nowadays, cheerleading is a highly athletic sport, and tryouts will involve a lot of tumbling, stunting, and complex dance choreography. But a lot of modern high school sitcoms will still have tryouts that consist of shouting a random chant you made up and waving your arms around, and the physical conditioning needed to be on a modern cheer squad will never be brought up. There are a number of reasons for this: 40 to 60-something writers who are unfamiliar with modern high school; most teenage (and twenty-something) female actresses are not trained athletes; showing complex stunting and dance routines would take away much of the valuable 21-22 minutes of story a modern TV episode has to play with.
  • One of the many reasons that Barbara G. Walker is pretty much a persona non grata in the feminist community is because of this trope. The majority of her essays were written in the mid-'90s, yet almost all of their content consists of complaining about issues more relevant in the 1970s, while being completely out of touch with what modern feminists believe, and totally ignoring the plight of women of color and the LGBT community, as though Third and Fourth Wave feminism never happened.
  • A Western expat in Beijing sent sketches of various modern Chinese buildingsnote  to North Korean artists for them to draw. The results were pieces of neo-Maoist propaganda straight out of the Cultural Revolution, including hundreds of workers in identical Mao suits streaming towards the Olympic stadium, people dancing in a disco hall on break, and smiling peasants and soldiers enjoying a bountiful harvest overlooking the CCTV headquarters, as though the artists were completely unaware of the reforms of Deng Xiaoping and the transition to a capitalist economy in the years after Mao's death.
  • Whenever TV or movies depict high school life, they often fall back on the stereotype of a bully who physically harasses a character and comes off clean from it. While this may have been common back during the writer's youth, physical harassment has become far more rare in recent years with Internet bullying taking its place. On top of that, schools today have adopted a zero tolerance policy on bullying where any form of such on or off campus will be reported with the appropriate punishment. The classic plotline of the bullied character displaying their personal growth by fighting back is equally unlikely for the same reason; under zero tolerance they would also be facing stiff punishments.
  • If you dial the number for the Bell Atlantic companynote you'll be played a pre-recorded message saying that they're operating on a reduced staff due to an emergency and that someone will eventually answer your call momentarily. The emergency in question was Bell Atlantic's merger with GTE to form Verizon...back in the year 2000. This means between then and the time of this article's posting, Verizon has yet to deactivate the message from its previous incarnation.
  • In a 2014 Tumblr post, someone shared a picture of an unopened VHS copy they found of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius in a Kmart DVD section. Not only was the videotape format discontinued in the mid 2000s, but the film itself was released in 2002; meaning the tape sat unopened for 12 years in that section and no one from the store ever thought to remove it during that time.
  • Stern Nuns beating their students with rulers at Catholic-run schools, or parents threatening to transfer them to a Catholic school if they don't behave themselves. While this was Truth in Television a few decades ago, it hasn't been since The '70s. A shift in academia about the role of teachers and new developments and paradigms in child psychology made teachers beating students (no matter whether those teachers are nuns/monks/priests/etc. or lay people) completely unacceptable, and if they tried anyway, they would most likely find themselves out of a job. Nor are Catholic schools currently used as Dustbin Schools for "bad" or "troubled" youth; they are literally just like any other school, except that they are run by a local Catholic diocese rather than the state (and as such will feature things like organized group prayer, Mass held either at the school or students being taken to a local Catholic church for Mass, and theology classes in addition to standard grammar, math, and, yes, science classes.) Students who act up in school may find themselves given detention, suspended, or expelled, even if whatever it was happened off campus outside of school hours. So Delinquents wouldn't last long in most cases anyway. Also, most of the teachers at modern Catholic schools aren't nuns (or priests, or monks), but lay people. (People who haven't taken religious vows.) Heck, some of them aren't even Catholic, or might not be currently practicing!
  • In fiction, fashion doesn't develop quite like it does in real life. Characters tend to either dress a few years out of date or they'll wear generic "timeless" fashions. This is especially noticeable with specific fashion trends. Due to Small Reference Pools, many writers don't even know that fashion trends can have their own trends. For example, goth characters perpetually dress like it's 1995 even two decades later. Certain fashion trends, like scene and emo in the 2000s, are near nonexistent in fiction despite being commonplace in real life.
  • It took until well into the 2010s for "nerds" and "geeks" in fiction to modernize with the times. The persistent portrayal was of of an awkward basement dweller, 20-something year old man who obsesses over comics and high fantasy. While this still exists, in the 2000s and 2010s the community changed a lot to more include fanfics, more girls, and other media like anime and non-fantasy books.
  • Depictions of (fictional) comic books in mainstream media often portray them as simplistic hero vs villain storylines with everything being wrapped up at the end. Not only do most superhero comics have continuing storylines that rarely end in a single issue (though it would be admittedly hard to pull this off in a depiction of them), but there are a variety of comics out there that don't fall into the superhero genre.
  • Even though Alex Trebek shaved off his iconic mustache in 2001, almost all parodies of Jeopardy!, particularly the "Celebrity Jeopardy!" sketches on Saturday Night Live, will still show him wearing one. Although he briefly grew it back in Fall 2014, and then briefly grew a beard in Fall 2018.
  • Children will still be depicted watching Saturday Morning Cartoons. As of October 2016, The Big Four networks (ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC) have all discontinued their Saturday morning cartoon blocks in favor of syndicated Edutainment produced by Litton, or else infomercials. With DVR systems, cable networks like Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network, plus the PBS Kids channel, and a plethora of kid-friendly content on streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, the concept of a block of programming just for kids is obsolete. Besides, many kids these days participate in extracurricular activities such as sports, dance and music lessons, art classes, and more; often, these are held on Saturday mornings, so the kids enrolled in them won't have time to watch cartoons in their pajamas all morning anyway.
    • Sinclair Broadcasting actually tried to revive the weekday/Saturday morning block in 2017 with KidsClick, which lasted for two years before it was discontinued for the reasons mentioned above. Not helping matters was that the block had a limited syndication as it only aired on local stations Sinclair owned and a TV network most people didn't even know existed. note 
  • Adopting pets from shelters is as easy as walking in and paying a few dollars for a pet. This is still Truth in Television depending on where the pet is adopted, but it's becoming much less common in America and several other countries. Animal shelters, rescues in particular, often do in-depth checks on potential owners (including household visits) and screen several potential owners before deciding on the best option. Adopting usually costs over $50, with some rescues having adoption costs of over $300 for dogs.
  • Whenever children from any fictional media run away from home their first option is usually to join the circus. While this was a common strategy for run aways in the far past, child protection laws have completely made this impossible since the 1900s as businesses can face serious criminal charges for hiring child labor; especially if the child in question is a run away.
  • In media, kindergartners still have nap time. In the 1990s and 2000s, nap time was phased out of most kindergartens.


 
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BB - Bob's Old Camcorder

In Season 7 "Mom, Lies, and Videotape", Bob plans on using a 90's era camcorder to record the kids' performance because people are fools for using a higher quality machine that also fits in their pocket.

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