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Unintentional Period Piece

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This trope is under discussion in the Trope Repair Shop.

"With dated '60s references like these, we won't have much of a life in reruns!"

A work set in the Present Day at the time of its creation, but so full of the culture of the time it resembles a deliberate exaggeration of the era in a work made later.

To provide a concrete example, let's say you're changing channels and come upon a show involving two men sitting at a bar in some tropical country. One in a military-looking uniform with a hammer-and-sickle badge on the side is whispering in heavily accented English about his worries that the Berlin Wall may not last. The other man, sporting a glorious mullet, clips his absolutely gigantic cell phone to his belt before putting his hand on the other man's shoulder reassuringly.

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When viewed by someone with even a shaky grasp of history, the historical period is blindingly obvious. Such a scene would have been made at the time with the focus entirely on Cold War politics, but the first thing the modern audience notices are the clunky cell phone and the mullet.

Narrow Parody is a subset of this trope. Zeerust is when a work's depiction of the future becomes dated, so all works with a far-future setting belong there, not here.

While just about every work becomes somewhat of a period piece after it becomes more than a decade old due to the characters referencing old trends, wearing out-of-style fashions and using out-of-date technology, this trope only really applies to works that wear their dates so blatantly that a viewer can identify the era or even year it was made in as soon as they begin to watch it. For example, while the 1990s sitcoms Friends and Frasier show their age in many respects, they don't wear The '90s so blatantly as to have this trope apply to them. On the flip side, a work based heavily around popular music — such as The Last Dragon or Dazzler's solo comic as a superpowered disco diva — can become painfully dated due to the rapidly changing nature of what's considered "hip".

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Some jokes fall victim to this when a history lesson is essentially required to explain the joke to folks who weren't around at the time the joke was funny. While a joke about a president who is long remembered may have many years of life, a joke about a news story that isn't well-remembered 20 years later except by the people who were alive at the time or paying attention, or based on a then-popular but now long-gone ad campaign, wouldn't — inverting Don't Explain the Joke because the explanation is necessary. As the years pass, the number of people who get the joke or remember the reference shrinks until the joke becomes an artifact of the generation. Historians studying an era, however, read the joke and get a good laugh out of it still and these jokes can liven up an otherwise dullish history lesson, or amuse a group of people knowledgeable of the era, or catch your grandparent off guard: "I haven't heard that joke for years!" A "topical" work can fall victim to this if it has a premise that was Ripped from the Headlines — what was a major news story when the work was made can easily date it to its time period. A real life location may fall victim to a disaster that rapidly alters the landscape. A good example of this is any film with shots of New York City before 9/11.

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Subtropes include Fashion Dissonance (when this is caused by clothing and hairstyles alone), Failed Future Forecast (which dates the work between the issue in question becoming relevant and it being resolved in real life) and Zeerust (when it's just the depiction of future technology that's outdated). Look for examples of Technology Marches On, Future Society, Present Values, Aluminum Christmas Trees, and scenes that would resemble Mister Sandman Sequences if they occurred in an actual period piece. Compare with Two Decades Behind, which is when something inadvertently feels like a period piece despite having been made a good time after the period it seems to be based on, and We're Still Relevant, Dammit!, for when long-running series make blatant (and sometimes forced) references to modern culture in an attempt to seem up-to-date or to look more "hip", often resulting in one of these. Sometimes, especially when the viewer has spent too long on This Very Wiki, the very tropes in use may be recognisable of an era — such as the '90s Anti-Hero.

Note that a work being a product of its time doesn't necessarily mean it isn't relevant or entertaining to modern audiences, even notwithstanding the kitsch or nostalgia factor (as many of the examples below will demonstrate). If the work's severe datedness also makes it inaccessible to modern audiences, then you have Values Dissonance. However, this trope can overlap with Values Dissonance if an intellectual fashion was very short-lived. If a concept was new in its day but is now well-established and evolved beyond that, you're looking at "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny. If somehow the work manages to feel just as relevant today as it did then, if not more so, it's an example of Values Resonance, not this trope. Obviously, films and TV shows that were done in black-and-white, or non-high definition, as well as video games, will automatically be dated for technical reasons, but if we listed them all we'd be here all day. So it would be best to judge them more by content and plot. If the material's universal but the outfits are dated to the minute, that's Fashion Dissonance. Compare Anachronism Stew, which is one possible way to avert/subvert this. Dismissing a work simply on the basis of its "datedness" would be an Appeal to Novelty.

Important Sidenote: To avoid questionable examples, do not add a work less than 10 years old unless the situation is especially unusual. (Being completely overtaken by events by time of airing, and being called "instantly dated" by the press, have both qualified in the past.) For most works, it won't be particularly clear which ones really do bleed their production date out of every pore until roughly a decade has passed. Likewise, while works that are Older Than Radio, or even Older Than Television, technically qualify for this trope by default, they are so numerous that they will not be listed here. Therefore, this page uses the 1920s as its cutoff date.

However — also remember that while older references zing over the heads of younger consumers, newer references zing over the heads of older consumers, too. So references from modern times can sometimes be accurate, and TV Tropes does not know time.


Examples, organized by both decade and media:

Other examples:

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1950s

    1950s Films 

  • A Face in the Crowd is set in a time when rock-and-roll and television were obviously new national crazes, and when TV programming was mostly produced in New York and was dependably wholesome. Also features numerous cameos by television celebrities of the era.
  • Artists and Models (1955) features a US general speaking the words "We can safely predict our nation will be the first to break through the Earth's gravitational pull and establish a space station". In 1957, the USSR got to space first with Sputnik 1. In 1959, the USSR broke through the Earth's gravitational pull (i.e. reached escape velocity) first with Luna 1. In 1971, the USSR established the first space station, Salyut 1.
  • The Blue Lamp has an overpowering sense of immediately-post-war London, with children playing on bomb sites, austerity and rationing still somewhat present, slums that seemingly never left the Victorian era, a panic over juvenile delinquents who dress in sharp suits and fedoras, trolleybuses, and police cars with bells rather than sirens.
  • Guys and Dolls (1955), in which New Yorkers go to Havana for a dinner date, got dated soon after due to the Cuban Revolution.
  • I Married a Communist! dates to a very specific point in time when the Cold War was America's biggest concern, and communists were the biggest bogeymen. After the fall of the Soviet Union, people are no longer concerned with the spread of Communism as an ethos, and in fact many people in traditionally-capitalist nations have actually embraced some of Communism's ideals.
  • Rear Window: World-traveling photographer LB Jeffries (played by James Stewart) is stuck in his apartment for weeks because of a broken leg. He can't take the boredom so he looks out his window to watch his neighbors across the courtyard. If it had been at least 5 years later he would have just watched television to pass the time, but TVs weren't in every home in 1954. Also, later advances in medicine would have required a far more severe injury than a broken leg to confine him to his home — if anything, getting out and staying active would be encouraged.note 
  • The Seven Year Itch (1955) is a time capsule of the mid-1950s due to Values Dissonance and other reasons. For starters, the entire plot is set in motion when the wives and children of New York City leave for New England to escape the summer heat, which would not be necessary just a few years later when air conditioning became more prevalent and reliable. The female characters, almost without exception, are seen wearing the high-waisted, long-skirted "New Look" style of dress that was already starting to pass out of fashion when this movie was made. The script is littered with subtle and not-so-subtle references to the popular culture of the time period, some of them bordering on (and in one case even crossing) the Celebrity Paradox: the characters going to a theater to see Creature from the Black Lagoon, a pretty blatant parody of From Here to Eternity, etc. Perhaps most striking, however, is the characters' discussion of the Marilyn character wearing nothing but a bikini for a U.S. Camera photoshoot: we are told that police had to show up at the beach to keep the crowd under control, and until we actually see the photo, the way the characters refer to it leads us to believe that The Girl had actually been posing nude.
  • White Christmas is set in an America where nightclubs are places where people dress up, dance formally, and hear live entertainers perform what are today called standards. Those entertainers gain stardom by appearing on regular radio shows and starring in Broadway revues (variety shows). They travel from Florida to Vermont, and thence to New York, by train; once in New York, they appear on prime-time, live-broadcast, black-and-white TV, and at home the whole family gathers around to watch. And the whole plot is centered around men doing things "for an old pal from the Army" — the bond created amongst a generation by World War II.
  • Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? takes place in an extremely played-up version of the period in which it was made — accurately predicting how people in the future would remember the fifties.

    1950s Literature 
  • A couple of Ian Fleming's James Bond stories from ca. 1959 reference the anti-Batista forces in revolutionary Cuba with some sympathy, which wouldn't be the case a year or so later. International travel, while common for Bond, is also much slower than it would be in real life (with an airline flight between London and Istanbul involving multiple stops) and copious smoking on planes and trains.
  • Rally Round the Flag, Boys! has suburban housewives organizing committees to welcome a new Nike installation, which leads to a fight between soldiers and Greaser Delinquents. Throwaway references include a Henpecked Husband comparing trying to make a date with his wife with "like trying to get tickets to My Fair Lady."
  • John Updike's Rabbit, Run is set in 1959, and as if to hammer it home, it lingers on cultural moments like specific episodes of The Mickey Mouse Club and, among other things, spends a page and a half averting Nothing but Hits by listing every single song that comes onto the radio and ads for period products as well as the news, involving the Chinese invasion of Tibet. At the time, it seems to have been just trying to capture the banality of Rabbit's ordinary life. Reviewers also note its pre-sexual-revolution treatments of masculinity and sex.

    1950s Live-Action TV 
  • The Honeymooners, though the show was always slightly more realistic than other sitcoms around at the time.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959). Though most of its seasons were aired in the early '60s, it still comes off as '50s for the most part, with a lot of commentary on the Cold War and Red Scare in many episodes. There is of course still some Values Resonance to be found in some episodes though, so it varies from episode to episode.
  • Roger Ebert wrote that starting in the 1950s, television made it possible for pop-cultural fads to spread like wildfire and then burn out just as quickly as other, "cooler" fads replaced them. He could swear to this since he was an adolescent during that decade and watched quite a lot of TV, and he could date his childhood pop-culture phenomena — Davy Crockett, The Mickey Mouse Club, Zorro — not just to the mid-1950s, but to the exact year and sometimes to the exact month.

    1950s Music 
  • The original version of "Santa Baby" as sung by Eartha Kitt refers to a "[19]'54 convertible", changed in some covers to "I want a new..." or even "outer space convertible." In the 1960s or 1970s, it'd be closer to this trope, but 1954 isn't a particularly sought-after year for any mainstream American car since styling tended to be at an awkward stage between the flowing Art Deco of the first postwar generation and the long, low finniness of the late '50s, and wheezy old flathead engines and flaky first-generation automatic transmissions proliferated.
  • In the Clovers' 1959 song "Love Potion Number Nine" the lyrics go: "I told her that I was a flop with chicks / I've been this way since 1956". Wow, that guy's been a flop with the girls for a looooong time...
    • The year stayed at 1956 in The Searchers cover in 1965 (which is the version often heard on oldies stations). This turns a three-year dry spell into a nine-year "I'd better step back and take a hard look at what's wrong with my life" serious problem. If anything, it makes even more sense that the guy is desperate enough to hunt down a gypsy (now considered an ethnic slur for Romani people) for a love potion.
    • Later covers of the song avert this; you can change it to 1996 or 2006 and the song's no longer dated... for a little while.
  • "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas" (1951) becomes more dated as time goes on, particularly the verse which talks about what the assorted kids would like to receive. "A pair of Hopalong boots and a pistol that shoots is the wish of Barney and Ben." Setting aside the fact that very few children have been named "Barney" since the 1960s (the name "Ben", while still relatively common, is not as popular as it was at the time), a pistol would not be an appropriate Christmas gift for little boys in this day and age. Also, how many people singing the song these days even know what "Hopalong boots" are? The girls in the song don't fare much better, since "dolls that will talk and will go for a walk" have long since ceased to be impressive. At least the line about "Mom and Dad can hardly wait for school to start again" is still pretty relevant...
  • The R&B song "Kansas City" mentions the 12th Street and Vine intersection which no longer exists in that city due to redevelopment. In its place is a park with a commemorative plaque and parking spaces painted like piano keys.

    1950s Theatre 
  • Bells Are Ringing necessarily takes place before the rise of answering machines, which had already begun in the 1960s. It has a subplot involving fake orders placed in bulk for recordings of classical music in "all three speeds" (33, 45 and 78 RPM, the latter of which died out around 1958). There's also a List Song rattling off the names of 1950s celebrities (which, like a number of similar songs from Cole Porter musicals, had a few lines revised during the original Broadway run).
  • Damn Yankees. Most obviously, the protagonist roots for and then plays for the original Washington Senators, which moved after 1960 to become the Minnesota Twins.
  • Flower Drum Song lays on the 1950s slang and fashions in music and dress a bit heavily. Immigration quotas complicate the love plot, which is resolved with the help of a TV western. The lyrics to "Chop Suey" are a laundry list of people and things popular in America at the time. Notably, the film adaptation made in 1961 changed the references to Bobby Darrin and Sandra Dee to make it seem more current.
  • Li'l Abner is vintage 1950s satire about atomic bomb testing and scientific optimism. The song lyrics allude to a fair number of advertising slogans of the time; "Progress Is The Root Of All Evil," whose title is a cross between an old proverb and a General Electric slogan, is about 1950s trends and failing to keep up with them.
  • The Most Happy Fella, despite being set in the 1920s, is commonly supposed to take place in the 1950s, when it was written. This is largely because the musical deliberately dropped the contemporary political topics of the 1924 play on which it was based, including all references to Prohibition.
  • John Osborne's plays Look Back in Anger and The Entertainer were cutting edge in their coarse language and format, depiction of working-class Englishmen and the seedier side of British culture, ushering in the "Angry Young Man" era in British literature. They have a much more mixed reputation today, partly through "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny but also their dated topicality. Particularly true of The Entertainer, whose plot focuses on the long-defunct music hall tradition and myriad references to the Suez Crisis of 1956.

    1950s Western Animation 
  • The 1959 Merrie Melodies cartoon "The Mouse that Jack Built" (a parody of The Jack Benny Program featuring the show's cast) is chock-full of late 50s references, but one that would go over the head of people who don't know one World War from the othernote  is when Jack is speaking to Ed, the vault guard, who has evidently been in there a long time by the 1959 date that is assumed. Jack assumes Ed means World War II (which had been over for 14 years by this time), but then Ed drops a reference from World War I.
    Ed: Halt! Who goes there?
    Jack: It's me, Ed.
    Ed: Oh, hello, Mr. Benny. How are things on the outside? We win the war yet?
    Jack: Oh, uh... yes. Yes, we did.
    Ed: That's good. What do you think they'll do with the Kaiser?

1960s

    1960s Comics 
  • The Franco-Belgian comic Achille Talon (also known as Walter Melon) was written in the '60s and finished in the '90s. The comic was mainly a gag strip with a main character that had an unclear mind and encyclopedic knowledge. Pretty much 90% of the jokes in those comics would barely even work well (unless you can still laugh with jokes about people that mock old cars that have cars themselves that scream the 1960s). The dialogue is also unbelievably dated, not helped by the fact that the comic used a complex vocabulary for its time (the Spanish translator of the comic had to come up with a new joke whenever the original joke didn't translate well into Spanish) and a lot of neologisms that don't catch on with modern viewers.
  • In The Beaver Patrol , another Franco-Belgian comic, the 5 main characters are invited by the Iranian government for a vacation. This story (published in two parts entitled The Haunted Bus and The Ghost) was written in 1967 and 1969, at a time Iran was still on friendly terms with the West. The Iranians were portrayed in a positive light, while the Kurds were portrayed as savage raiders. After the Islamic Revolution in 1979 and 9/11, those portrayals would be reversed in Western media.
  • The Hungarian gag strip Jucika that ran from 1959 to 1970 referenced cultural phenomena of the time, like supply shortages following the 1956 revolution, crummy infrastructure, life under the oddities of "Goulash Communism", vintage technology, Yuri Gagarin, and the comic's eroticism and Fanservice in general don't feel special compared to the off-the-wall adult cartoons published later. A Hungarian exhibit about fashion and commercialism under socialism was even titled "What Did Jucika Buy?" because her name is so firmly tied to that era. Had the creator not died so early or if another artist had taken over, the strip would likely have kept up with the changing times and looser censorship of later decades, especially since it was intended to be more explicit than the publisher at the time had allowed. Still, the comic's international popularity boost beginning from 2019 shows most strips have a timeless appeal. The artist's other ongoing cartoon, the pro-Soviet political-military satire Joe and Ivan is very much a product of its time, though.

    1960s Films 
  • The Apartment: The film is remarkably timeless for something made in the early 1960s, but a few things show their age:
    • Miss Kubelik's occupation as an elevator operator was already pretty archaic at the time, and has now become completely extinct except for very old buildings.
    • The fact that new episodes of The Untouchables are airing is a plot point; The Untouchables would air its last new episode in May 1963.
    • Bud has all of four channels to choose from when he watches television.
  • Bullitt: The police department watches in dramatic, stony silence as game-changing evidence in the case is printed by the Xerox Magnafax Telecopier, a then-revolutionary fax machine that nevertheless took minutes to send a document. You would also not find an airport even two decades later with security as lax as in the film's climax, where a character is able to carry a gun in and out of an airplane and through an airport without anyone noticing.
  • Cool Hand Luke, despite being technically set in the 1950s, instantly feels more associated with the 60s. The applicability to the Vietnam War is everywhere — especially with its anti-establishment themes, and Luke being a disaffected former soldier. The film's famous line — "what we got here is a failure to communicate" — has been interpreted as a metaphor for Vietnam. Roger Ebert felt the film was a huge product of its time.
    "The year 1967 was at the center of the Vietnam era, and Luke was against the establishment."
  • Easy Rider: The main characters receive (murderous) persecution for being counterculture bikers in the Deep South. In more modern times, "outlaw" culture has become embraced in the South, and bikers dressed like them wouldn't be seen as anything particularly noteworthy.
  • Walt Disney attempted to avert this with The Jungle Book (1967), specifically the vultures. Hence, the vultures talk like The Beatles (and are caricatures of them) but don't sing like them, as Walt felt that a bunch of Beatles expies would date the film. Instead, they sing like a barbershop quartet. Suffice it to say that a Beatles-style number would have aged far better, but considering that barbershop dates back to the early 1880s while the Beatles were still a fairly new fad, how was Walt to know that?
  • Love with the Proper Stranger: Quite progressive and un-dated in many ways, but clearly made before abortion was legalized in New York state in 1970.
  • Magical Mystery Tour, and not just because it starred the Beatles. Pretty much everything about it, from the bus painted in the most psychedelic colors possible to the fashions to the "experimental" (in reality incomprehensible) plot, screams 1960s.
  • The Million Dollar Duck, which is about a duck that lays golden eggs, gets most of its conflict from Executive Order 6102, which prevents a private citizen from owning large amounts of gold. The law was repealed in 1974.
  • Revolution captures the feeling of the 1960s, even though the topics in the documentary might seem old-fashioned nowadays.
  • One, Two, Three literally became a period piece during shooting — when the production started, the Berlin Wall had not been erected yet, and shooting could happen at the Brandenburg Gate. However, as filming continued, and they needed to film a chase between James Cagney's character and his companions and some East German policemen that continued over the border between East and West Berlin, East Germany very unobligingly decided to put up the Wall. The film is written and performed as if still in the pre-wall period.
  • Peeping Tom is instantly recognizable as an early '60s piece from the fashion and vibrant color palette — which resembles the notable pop art of the era. Pornography is portrayed as a secretive thing that a respectable gentleman has to whisper for when the newsagents are empty — and it's paralleled to the protagonist's voyeurism. The film technology is also state of the art for the '60s, and Mark watches his films back on a projector — showing that it was made before videotape was invented.
  • Notorious Z-movie They Saved Hitler's Brain is a weird case, in that chunks of it were filmed in the early 60s and other chunks were filmed in the late 60s. However, the fashions and costumes were not kept consistent, so it's very easy to figure out the years when some parts were filmed: sometimes, the characters wear suits and ties like extras on Mad Men, and other times, they look like members of The Monkees.
  • Most of the plot of the 1966 film Walk, Don't Run (actually a remake of 1943's The More the Merrier) turns on how shocking and scandalous it is for an unmarried woman to sublet a room in her apartment out to a man. When a newspaper reporter hears the tale of how Steve wound up renting a room from Catherine, he says he's going to write a juicy story about it. Then Catherine's fiancée Julius, a low-ranking diplomat, decides that Steve and Catherine have to get married in order to avoid scandal and social embarrassment and damage to Julius's career. All because Steve rented out Catherine's guest bed. It's impossible to imagine the movie being made even a few years later when the swinging 1970s were underway and nobody would have batted an eye at such a living arrangement.

    1960s Literature 
  • In the foreword to The Warriors (upon which the 1979 film is based), Sol Yurick notes that at the time the book was written, gangs had limited access to guns and cars, both of which would have considerably shortened the timeline of events (and elevated the body count).

    1960s Live Action TV 
  • The Brady Bunch bleeds its late 1960s/early 1970s origin, due to Fashion Dissonance and being a touch too conservative for the '70s proper. This is lampshaded in the Brady Bunch movies, where they have this same attitude in the 1990s.
  • Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In, with the colorful sets and go-go dancers with painted-on comic messages.
  • The Banana Splits, especially during the song segments. For example, in the "San Francisco" version of Wait 'Till Tomorrow, as well as the "Pop Cop" segment (which doesn't feature the Splits), you can see various, then-current styles of cars from the time.
  • Mission: Impossible clearly dates itself by a combination of two factors: on the one hand, while the conflict with the Soviet Bloc could carry the stories into the 1980s, several episodes dealing with Nazis keep it from going later into the 1970s as concerns about Nazis plotting a fourth Reich faded from popular culture. Also, many episodes mention then-extravagant amounts of money that would be considered rather paltry in the 2010s thanks to fifty years of inflation.
    • One episode has Barney's invention of the week be a chess computer capable of winning a major tournament, which would have been incredible in the late 60s, but computer programs capable of playing chess became easily commercially available in the late 80s, and a computer program capable of besting a recognized grandmaster was demonstrated in the Deep Blue v Kasparov matches of 1997, making Barney's creation no longer wondrous.
  • Depending on the episode, Star Trek: The Original Series has this going on alongside its Zeerust. Between the color palette, the miniskirts, the Cold War-esque Fed/Kling politics, the civil-rights-era Aesops and Chekov's Monkees hair, it comes across as some kind of Neo-'60s even when they aren't confronted with space hippies.
  • The Prisoner (1967), although how unintentional it was is debatable, and the series' influence is such that it probably shaped later perception of the '60s. Nonetheless, the show criticizes Cold War power structures (with the major implication that Number Six's captors may be his own "side" and his retirement from spy service as a "matter of conscience"), and has an overall tone that can only be described as 'psychedelic', features very 1960s fashions (most notably Number Six's jacket, the multicolored capes seen on a few characters, and the prevalence of lava lamps). The finale includes (without giving away too much) the music of The Beatles ("All You Need Is Love") and a character, thematically representing universal youth culture, calling everyone "dad" or "baby". Not all episodes are period pieces, however: one in particular, "The General", turned out to be quite prophetic with regards to the rise of digital culture and the Internet; it just does so involving a computer the size of a room that spits out printouts.
  • The Man from U.N.C.L.E. lives and dies on its Cold War setting and the oddity of a spy organization employing both American and Soviet agents. Notably, the 2015 film version didn't even try to translate the premise into the present day and is simply set in the '60s.
  • Given that Thunderbirds was made in the '60s, this was going to be inevitable. Modern British viewers may be a little miffed at the main airport being called "London Airport", unaware that back in the day, this was actually the name for Heathrow Airport before Stansted and Gatwick acquired "London" status. There are also several references to Cape Kennedy.
  • The Avengers (1960s) is the sort of TV show that could only exist in the '60s — where James Bond had just taken off and spies were cool. Second-Wave Feminism was in, resulting in sexy Action Girls like Cathy Gale, Emma Peel, and Tara King. The hairstyles and fashions of the female characters scream the 1960s, particularly Emma's Spy Catsuit. The show's tongue-in-cheek, Narm Charm tone was so heavily a product of the 60s that attempts to revive the series in the 70s failed — as did a film adaptation in 1998.
  • Car 54, Where Are You?: The theme song makes mention of the arrival of Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev at New York's Idlewild Airport in September 1960; Idlewild was renamed John F. Kennedy International Airport in December 1963, and Khrushchev was removed from power in 1964.

    1960s Music 
  • The Fugs: They were once the most audacious rock band out there because they were the first to openly sing about sex, drugs, and politics. As a result, a lot of their material is nowadays heavily dated because so many imitators have come in that it lost all of what made it special in the first place. And, of course, there are many references to the Vietnam War, Kennedy, Nixon, Communism...and so on.
  • "Happy Together" by The Turtles includes the line "If I should call you up, invest a dime..." Telephone booths often cost 50 cents nowadays, and even they are becoming obsolete as cell phones are becoming more commonplace.
  • "Mustang Sally" sung by Wilson Pickett: "I bought you a brand new Mustang, 1965..."
  • "Magic Bus" by The Who manages to still sound reasonably timeless until it betrays the fact that it was written before British currency was decimalized with "Thruppence and sixpence every day just to drive to my baby".
  • The Elvis Presley song "Return to Sender" (1961) has a lyric in which the singer gets the letter returned to him stamped "no such number/no such zone". The "zone" is a reference to postal zones, a way of routing letters in large cities that was introduced in 1943 and retired in the 1960s in favor of modern-day ZIP codes.
    • If you know that ZIP actually stands/stood for "Zone Improvement Program" (which is why it's "ZIP Code," not "Zip Code"), it's still pretty clear, but most people who know that are old enough to remember zones outright.
    • "Bossa Nova Baby" has the line "Loan me a dollar and I'll buy some gas." Nowadays, $1 worth of gas might get you around the block.
  • The Beatles' "Taxman" from Revolver refers to contemporary tax rates = "One for you, nineteen for me." (a 95% supertax on earnings for British subjects in the top income bracket) and contemporary politicians — "Mr. Wilson" and "Mr. Heath" refer to Harold Wilson and Edward Heath, who were the leaders of the Labour Party and the Conservative Party, respectively.
    • "Everyone you see is full of life/It's time for tea and "Meet the Wife"." ("Meet the Wife" was a popular BBC TV sitcom of The '60s.)
    • The song "Revolution" from The White Album has the line "If you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao you ain't gonna make it with anyone anyhow". Back in the 1960s and 1970s, Maoism was a bit more popular and widespread among leftist youth than it is now.
    • "Back in the U.S.S.R." has "a period piece" written all over it. In addition to the obvious fact that the U.S.S.R. was disbanded in 1991, the song is written as a parody of The Beach Boys 1965 hit "California Girls", has a Chuck Berry Shout-Out (to 1959's "Back in the U.S.A.") for a title, and contains a reference to "Georgia on My Mind" (originally written in 1930, and popularized by Ray Charles in 1960).
    • "Happiness Is a Warm Gun" has since become this with increased debates on gun control worldwide since the sixties. Most glaringly, The Beatles' home country became subject to this in 1997 when the Firearms (Amendment) Act banned handguns in the United Kingdom.
  • Many believe that Phil Ochs has largely been swept under the rug due to his habit of lifting song ideas from newspaper headlines (for a great example of this, listen to "Outside of a Small Circle of Friends"). The result is that many of his references are lost in time to all but those who were alive back then (and paying close attention to the news) and young fans who are unusually savvy in regards to the events of the time. Unfortunately, the result is that Ochs remains relatively unappreciated as one of the true pioneers and innovators of the folk/protest music movement of the sixties.
    • "Love Me, I'm a Liberal" (1966) has aged rather well, being a general-purpose indictment of the Bourgeois Bohemian who claims to be all for progressive social causes, but backs out in disgust the moment those causes threaten to affect their lives or meaningfully change society and sees actual progressive rebels as immature rabble-rousers. However, by nature of having to talk about those social causes, it falls into this, referencing things like popular black entertainers of the time, the assassinations of politicians and civil rights leaders, Hubert Humphrey being named Vice President, Les Crane, and the Korean War. There are more than a few attempts to update the song for more modern times—Ochs himself did one performance in 1971 where he updated a few verses, such as changing mentions of Korea to mentions of Israel.
  • A lot of Frank Zappa's works are period pieces, most blatantly with We're Only in It for the Money, which satirizes the hippie movement.
  • Scott McKenzie's One-Hit Wonder "San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)", dates from a very specific time, namely the spring and summer of 1967 in San Francisco, popularly known as the "Summer of Love". Similar songs like "Let's Go To San Francisco" (The Flowerpot Men), "San Franciscan Nights" (The Animals), "California Dreamin'" (The Mamas & the Papas) have dated for the same reasons.
  • The Ventures' Christmas Album has holiday standards arranged around hooks from contemporary pop hits like "I Feel Fine", "She's Not There", and "When You Walk in the Room", making it unmistakably mid-1960s.
  • Whilst the The Beatles' original Sergeant Pepper's album (1967) is viewed today as a timeless classic, the many imitators that were rushed out by other record companies to cash in on its success have dated badly. The Rolling Stones' Their Satanic Majesties Request and The Moody Blues' In Search of the Lost Chord — both intended to cash in on the mood and themes of Sergeant Pepper — today sound like pastiches of Sixties pop music with few memorable songs. Other Pepper imitations which now sound like standard products of their own decade include The Small Faces' Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake and Pink Floyd's The Piper at the Gates of Dawn and The Hollies' Evolution and Butterfly note .
  • "Kay" by John Wesley Ryles, a 1968 country music song about a broken-hearted taxicab driver. Two of his customers are soldiers who tell the protagonist "how they hate that war in Vietnam". When Daryle Singletary covered the song in 2002, he changed the line to "how they won that war in Afghanistan".
  • Motown band The Marvelettes had a hit in 1962 with "Beechwood 4-5789", however telephone exchange names (like the title is) were phased out later that same decade.
  • 小林 旭  ~自動車ショー歌~ (which translate to Automobile Show Song, with the Sho-ka doubling as a Fun with Homophones, as it also means "song") is a snapshot of the car culture of '60s Japan, as it lists off a bunch of automobile brands and companies that were known among the general populace back then; many of which have since been either discontinued or have faded out entirely. Examples include Packard,note  Opel,note  and Bellett.note  Particular mention goes to the prominence of American brands and the comparative lack of German brands. This song shows just how American cars dominated the import car market in Japan. Had this song been made today, there would be a lot more mention of German brands such as BMW and Porsche as they've overtaken The Big Three in terms of its popularity in Japan since the 70s.
  • Allan Sherman:
    • Many of his songs satirized 1960s culture, some popular ("Al 'n Yetta", "Pop Hates The Beatles") and some social ("Downtown", "The Rebel"), and even the songs with broader topics tend to have passing mentions of products and politics from the era. As a result, a lot of jokes tend to get lost on modern listeners.
    • The first gift in "The Twelve Gifts of Christmas" is a Japanese transistor radio. After The '70s, transistor radios lost most and eventually all of their market shares to (in chronological order) boomboxes, Walkmans, portable CD players, MP3 players, and smartphones.
  • The 1961 song "Sad Movies (Make Me Cry)" references newsreels and color cartoons, neither of which have been regularly shown in theaters since the end of that decade.
  • Simon & Garfunkel's "A Simple Desultory Philharmonic" is awash with references to characters from the 50s and 60s, including writer Norman Mailer, Maxwell Taylor, John O'Hara, JFK/LBJ-era Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Lenny Bruce, novelist Ayn Rand, record producer Phil Spector and more.

    1960s Theatre 
  • The Boys in the Band is very much a look at the self-loathing, dread and neurosis in a pre-Stonewall gay culture — especially since it hit the stage in 1968, one year before the Stonewall Rebellion. In fact, when William Friedkin adapted the play for the screen in 1970, right when gay liberation and pride were on the rise, he was excoriated for putting together a "throwback" to the days of gay shame.
  • The original version of the musical How Now, Dow Jones is filled with topical and cultural references highly specific to 1967. (These were extensively revised for the show's 2009 revival.)
    • The plot is driven around a young woman who's frustrated because her fiancé won't marry her until the Dow Jones Industrial Average rises above 1,000.note 
    • Many jokes rely on the audience being familiar with Lane Bryant (a women's clothing store popular at that time) and The Graduate.
    • One scene that requires a set, costumes, and actors that aren't used anywhere else in the production is a parody of a then-current Dreyfus Fund commercial featuring a lion emerging from the subway and moving along Wall Street.

    1960s Western Animation 
  • Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, thanks in no small part to the bubblegum pop background music during some chase scenes (starting with the second season in 1970 — which makes this show a good candidate for the 1970s entries as well!).
  • Rocky and Bullwinkle: Ironically, Rocky and Bullwinkle has had a much longer life in reruns — appearing in syndication through the 1960s, '70s, and '80s, on Nickelodeon in the early 1990s, and occasionally elsewhere since then — than the show poking fun at it in the page quote (Tiny Toon Adventures hasn't been seen much on TV since the late 1990s, other than a short-lived revival of reruns on The Hub in 2013). It helps that there are over 100 episodes and the rights (in the US) aren't owned by any of the big networks note  (so it's easier to negotiate syndication rights from area to area), whereas Tiny Toons has only 98 and is owned by Warner Bros., which is co-owned with the Turner networks. Rocky & Bullwinkle even had a new series debut on Amazon Prime in 2018.
    • For that matter, even the backup segments for the moose and squirrel's show have shown a much livelier afterlife through reruns and revivals than Tiny Toons. Mr. Peabody & Sherman, for instance, have had a theatrical animated film and their own spin-off animated TV series (on Netflix).
  • The Flintstones and The Jetsons, despite taking place in the past and the future respectively, have enough 1960s pop culture references that they come off as "The 1960s With Cavemen" or "The 1960s With Flying Cars".
  • Fellow animated sitcom Top Cat falls under this too from its sixties slang to the running gag of Top Cat constantly using Officer Dibble's now obsolete police phone.
  • The 1967 Looney Tunes short Daffy's Diner has Daffy using DDT to give the rubber mice he cooks a more authentic flavor. DDT would be banned in the early 1970s.
  • Frosty the Snowman begins with a scene where the group of children attend school on Christmas Eve, which was common in the United States until the mid-60s. However, the special was produced in 1969.

2010s

    2010s Advertising 
  • The Nando's ad "Last Dictator Standing", due to depicting Robert Mugabe as still in charge of Zimbabwe but showing Muammar Gaddafi as one of the dead dictators he's reminiscing about, could only have been made between Gaddafi's overthrow and death in the 2011 Libyan Civil War and Mugabe's 2017 ouster in a Military Coup.

    2010s Anime and Manga 
  • Around the time of Barack Obama's presidency in the United States (2009-2017), a plethora of manga and anime referenced Obama or Obama-like stand-ins as bosses, mayors, leaders... and as the United States' president of the time (if set on every-day Earth), etc., usually in settings outside Japan — for example, Tiger & Bunny in 2011 and Mobile Suit Gundam 00 as mentioned in Turn of the Millennium, thus giving away the "era" they were created in. In some cases, same or similar slogans from his campaign would be included as blatant additions, such as America from Hetalia yelling "Yes we can!" in one of his character songs from the time. This occurred roughly in the range of 2008 to 2015/16, though it peaked from 2009 to 2012/13.
  • The 2013 Dream 9: Super Collaboration Special!! positions Toriko as a peer and competitor to One Piece and Dragon Ball. At the time, Toriko was being pushed as a rising star and a potential successor to internationally famous Long-Runners like Bleach and Naruto, which were beginning to wind down. Unfortunately, the special ended up basically being Toriko's last gasp in terms of notoriety; its anime adaptation was canceled a year later and the manga modestly finished out in 2016, with no sign of a spinoff, continuation, or big multimedia success to follow, and it hasn't had any luck showing up in crossovers since then. Anyone watching it today will probably wonder what this third series is, when One Piece and Dragon Ball are still very much in the public eye.
  • At one point, the characters in A Sister's All You Need talk about how manga adaptations of light novels are more popular than the novels themselves overseas. While that might have been true for the early 2010s when the novel volume this discussion occurs in was released (as light novels were notorious for not being licensed outside Japan), the mid to late part of the decade saw a massive boom in the export of light novels to foreign shores. This reference to a time before light novels became readily accessible overseas, and the sheer amount of name-dropping of other novel series that were popular at the time, places this series firmly in the early 2010s.

    2010s Comic Books 
  • Faith dates itself firmly to the early 10's thanks to the title character's constant gushing reverence for Joss Whedon, who was at the time enjoying a brief return to the spotlight as the writer and director of The Avengers (2012). Midway through the decade, his ex-wife exposed him as a serial adulterer and a toxic figure on set. Combined with the disastrous release of Justice League (2017), fans revisting his older works to find examples of Values Dissonance and Unfortunate Implications, and finally confirmation from various actors dating back to Buffy the Vampire Slayer that he had engaged in extremely abusive behavior against actors on a regular basis, Whedon fell out of favor in geek circles like the ones Faith inhabits. Incidentally, Faith's last outing, Faith Dreamside, was released in 2019, and she has not had an ongoing, or even a miniseries, since then.
  • Memetic is a horror comic book written in 2014 about a deadly internet meme that spreads uncontrollably, mutates people and causes the civilization's collapse. Said meme, the "Good Times Sloth", is in the format of "Advice Animals" (animal picture with a caption in Impact font) which has fallen out of favor since then. Also, the unnamed black US president is clearly Barack Obama.

    2010s Films — Animation 
  • Due to Rocko's Modern Life: Static Cling being stuck on The Shelf of Movie Languishment from 2017 to 2019, some of the references to "modern" trends were outdated by the time the film was finally released:
    • While selfie sticks are still in heavy use, they are now considered a nuisance and are even banned at Disney Theme Parks.
    • Hoverboards, which are featured in one part of the film, quickly lost popularity once they started exploding without warning.
    • The Bland-Name Product version of the iPhone that Filburt and Heffer go nuts over at the start of the movie has a ninth version, which was skipped for the iPhone X.
  • Megamind has everyone, including Megamind himself, use flip phones instead of smartphones. Also, a reference that specifically dates the film is Megamind's "No You Can't" posters, which acts as a direct parody of Barack Obama's "Hope" poster and his "Yes We Can" slogan.
  • The Nut Job also dated itself right out of the gate by using "Gangnam Style" (complete with an animated PSY in the credits!) nearly two years after the song's heyday (the movie came out in January 2014).
  • Teen Titans Go! To the Movies, while largely a parody of superhero films as a whole, has a scene joking about Stan Lee's Once an Episode cameos in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While Stan Lee's death by itself wouldn't qualify, Lee already planned his final cameo to be Avengers: Endgame, so subsequent MCU films would have been without him even if he were still alive. This dates TTGTTM to firmly before 2019.
  • Wreck-It Ralph's soundtrack contributions from Skrillex (who even makes an animated cameo) date the film to the height of the early-to-mid-2010s Electronic Dance Music boom, especially when Dubstep (the genre Skrillex made songs for) was one of the most popular EDM genres in America.

    2010s Films — Live-Action 
  • The Bling Ring. Even discounting the fact that it's Based on a True Story, the film is very much a satire of the celebrity worship and youth culture of the late 2000s that held on through the early 2010s, complete with a cameo by Paris Hilton As Herself.
  • Bullet to the Head: Jimmy's refusal to drink anything but Bulleit Bourbon, which is treated as an obscure brand, so he brings a bottle to bars and pays for a glass to drink it with. Shortly after the film's release, the brand's distribution greatly expanded, causing it to become quite common. Today, it seems a bit odd for Jimmy to be so obsessed with a mainstream brand and have such a hard time getting it.
  • The Cabin in the Woods, filmed in 2009 and released in 2012, was a satire of the horror genre as it existed in the '00s and early '10s (an era that horror fans both then and now regard as a Dork Age), the scenario that the protagonists find themselves dropped into being derivative of any number of Platinum Dunes-style teen slasher movies from that period (many of which were literal remakes of older films). Both the humor and the broader story concern the fact that cookie-cutter slashers like this are the only horror stories that the Ancient Ones, figures meant to represent mainstream moviegoers, want to see, with the Controllers lamenting how they'll never get to do something more interesting than just the tried-and-true zombie redneck torture family. By the end of the 2010s, the horror genre had undergone a radical transformation, with a slew of more artistic, boundary-pushing films being released to critical acclaim and mainstream success to the point that the 2010s came to be seen as a Golden Age for the genre, and many of the tropes that this film lampooned having being discredited in the years after it came out.
  • The 2011 slasher parody Detention, which is crammed with jokes about Torture Porn films, fad diets, contemporary pop & indie rock, text-speak, and the wave of '90s nostalgia that was rising at the time. The opening scene is almost as much a "Mister Sandman" Sequence for 2011 as what we see later in the film for 1992, with the line "your lack of faith in the durability of Kesha is disturbing" ringing Hilarious in Hindsight given how quickly she vanished from pop culture (or Harsher in Hindsight, given precisely how and why she vanished). One of the film's subplots also involves a millennial teenage girl and her Generation X mother undergoing a "Freaky Friday" Flip, with the resulting generation gap being Played for Laughs; one scene has the mother (in her daughter's body) remarking about how her generation never had any great crises or struggles, to which the teenagers around her (thinking that she's still her daughter) respond by bringing up 9/11, the war in Afghanistan, Hurricane Katrina, and the death of Heath Ledger — all historic touchstones for those who grew up during the 2000s.
  • Diamantino is a wacky genre-busting European co-production about the world's best soccer player. Not only the titular character is a sort of Affectionate Parody of Cristiano Ronaldo, but the film also deals with topics that became major concerns in Europe in the 2010s, such as the migrant crisis and populist movements pushing resentment against the EU. It also deals with topics like queer culture, and shows Diamantino instantly becoming a meme as soon as he fails the decisive penalty kick in the 2018 World Cup finale, or at least an alternative version of it.
  • The Irish film Dive was filmed in 2017 and released in 2018, but became dated immediately after its first week. The reason? The plot deals with a champion swimmer who becomes pregnant. Abortion was illegal in Ireland since the signing of the 8th Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland, which gave the unborn fetus the same rights as a living human, thereby making abortion illegal, in September of 1983. That amendment was repealed exactly one week after the premiere of the film.
  • The Cuba-set (and Cuba-shot) opening scenes of The Fate of the Furious, released in 2017, were made during the Cuban Thaw, a period of warming relations between the U.S. and Cuba during the later years of the Barack Obama presidency, and Dom’s positive comments on Cuba reflect some of the shift in attitudes during the period. By the time the film opened, Donald Trump (who strongly opposed Cuban relations) had taken office, and his administration began reversing the Cuban Thaw just months later. By the time the sequel was released, most pre-Thaw restrictions and sanctions were back in place and the U.S. had once again named Cuba a state sponsor of terrorism.
  • Escape Room (2019) was produced at the height of the late-2010s escape room fad— a fad that would come to an abrupt end in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic making many people avoid most forms of indoor gathering. Escape rooms, which involve multiple participants solving a puzzle to find their way out of a locked room, were hit hard by this, and while they still exist they are nowhere near as popular in the years immediately before the pandemic.
  • Found Footage 3D was released in 2016, but due to its long production cycle, the film inadvertently dates itself to no later than 2014 in a few ways. The plot revolves around the making of the first 3D found footage film; in real life, Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension took that crown in 2015. Scott Weinberg, the journalist interviewing the cast and crew, is also stated to come from FEARnet, a website and cable network which shut down in late 2014 after being acquired by Comcastnote  and merged with the TV network Chiller. The opening crawl also explicitly establishes the Film Within a Film Spectre of Death 3D as taking place in 2014.
  • God Bless America, released in 2011, is a dark satire of late 2000s/early 2010s American culture. Among the (literal) targets of this pop-culture satire is a Pompous Political Pundit in the vein of Bill O'Reilly, a Spoiled Brat featured on a My Super Sweet Sixteen-type show, a militant fundamentalist church in the vein of the Westboro Baptists, and everybody on the set of a reality singing competition based on American Idol. Most of these subjects would largely fall out of fashion in the years following, while others would even come to be considered totally innocuous, making the film's portrayal of them as everything wrong with American society come off as quaint or just plain weird.
  • The Internship, which appropriately involves an internship program at Google (while it is far from being simply a 90-minute ad for the company, it is depicted in a positive light), was released in 2013, near the end of a period marked by an absolute fascination with Silicon Valley. Nowadays, big tech giants are more likely to be shown in a decidedly negative light, alternately criticized either for amplifying fringe groups or for draconian censorship policies.
  • One of the main characters in Iron Sky is a US President based on Sarah Palin, which manages to date it to the brief moment in the late '00s and early '10s when Palin was a major political figure. By the time the film was released in 2012, she was already at the tail end of her fame and was only taken seriously by her diehard supporters; the entire joke was about how ridiculous the idea of Palin becoming President would be. Nowadays, she's barely a blip on the cultural and political radar, rendering the joke quite dated.
  • The 2015 Live-Action Adaptation of Jem and the Holograms (2015), which updates the story of Jem to depict the protagonists' rise to fame as occurring chiefly through social media and YouTube. A lot of the subject matter of the film is built entirely around its portrayal of New Media.
  • L.A. Slasher is a horror-comedy parodying the celebrity culture of the late 2000s and early 2010s, particularly Reality TV stars that the titular slasher killer views as having no talent or worth to society. What makes it particularly notable is the fact that, while it was released in 2015, after a long period sitting on the shelf, most of the targets of its satire (such as Teen Mom, Paris Hilton, and a young Justin Bieber) had already ceased to be relevant by the time it was filmed... in 2012.
  • 2010's Piranha 3D. The podcast Disaster Girls referred to the film as a snapshot of the Von Dutch/Ed Hardy spring break pop culture excess of the 2000s made at the last moment in time when that culture was mainstream. Specifically, they point to the film as an extended piss-take on that entire culture in how it presents its participants as getting literally skewered and torn apart. Its parody of Girls Gone Wild, an infamous series of sleazy softcore porn videos from the late '90s and '00s which went bankrupt in 2013, is a reference point likely to be lost on anybody born after 1995, who, in an age of easily available hardcore porn on the internet, may scratch their heads at the appeal of buying DVDs of topless college co-eds making out on spring break.
  • Pitch Perfect, released in 2012, showcased the emergence of what would be eventually termed as "pop feminism", from its theme of empowerment to the "anti-rape whistle" joke, while the antagonists are some stereotypical 2000s-era fratboys.
  • Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, a feature-length parody of Justin Bieber and early-mid 2010s pop culture in general. Many of its protagonist Connor's tribulations are exaggerated versions of real things that Bieber did during that time that helped make him a tabloid punchline. There are also jokes about smart devices, hoverboards, Macklemore's "Same Love", the raid on Osama bin Laden's compound, and Apple's heavy-handed promotion of U2's 2014 album Songs of Innocence, while Connor's girlfriend Ashley Wednesday is the star of a film franchise adapted from a series of dystopian YA novels. Unfortunately for the film, things had changed enough by the time of its premiere to make it look irrelevant.
  • Carrying on from Seltzer and Friedberg's past parody films in the latter half of the 2000s, their 2013 film The Starving Games is basically "Early 2010s: The Movie", which, apart from The Hunger Games (the source material that's the most obvious being primarily parodied in the film), features references to: Angry Birds, The Annoying Orange, Avatar, Captain America: The First Avenger, Downton Abbey, Fruit Ninja, "Gangnam Style", Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, Iron Man 2, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Expendables 2, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, and Thor.
  • Scream 4. Just as the original films were a reaction to the slasher movies of the prior decade, so was this one a reaction to the remake and Torture Porn trends of the 2000s, with an appropriately updated set of "rules" for modern horror movies. Said trends largely died out not long after its release, with the 2010s witnessing a "horror renaissance" with a slew of films that broke Out of the Ghetto and won critical acclaim. The killers film their massacre and plan to upload it to the internet, anticipating the online video boom of the 2010s... but they do so with webcams and digital cameras that have to be edited later as opposed to livestreaming (a technology that, in real life, was used for a number of infamous spree killings later in the decade). Social media is name-dropped, but only as something that teenagers use, when just five years later, Sidney would likely be using it heavily to promote her book. And in keeping with the series' postmodernism and Meta Fiction, it also happens In-Universe, with the Film Within a Film Stab 6 featuring Ghostface taunting two victims through Facebook. One of the people watching it remarks that it sounds like a stupid attempt by some hack writer to keep the series "hip", causing the other to reply "I guess now it would be Twitter."
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming: Peter's classmates, and Peter himself, are shown making use of drones, which were a fad in the late 2010s that quickly died down after legislation shut down their usage in public spaces. Though modernising Peter's story to represent the youth of today is a generally common part of his mythos, this in particular stands out as one that doesn't age well simply because it looks dated only a few years later.
  • Spring Breakers, much like the aforementioned The Bling Ring, is a satirical take on the party-hard pop culture of the late 2000s and very early 2010s. James Franco's character in particular, a Pretty Fly for a White Guy rapper/drug dealer, is a distillation of every Glam Rap stereotype of the era, specifically towards Houston rapper Riff Raff.
  • The Eddie Murphy comedy film A Thousand Words was made in 2008 but released in 2012. It features flip phone Product Placement, the novel The Shack is referred to as a hot trend when it was already five years old by the time the movie came out, and the protagonist is a wealthy literary agent whose job was basically made redundant as e-books were incredibly popular at the time the film was released.
  • The 2012 film version of The Three Stooges attempts to be an updating of the famous comedy team, yet also dates itself severely not only by its several instances of Cringe Comedy (including a number of Groin Attacks) but also by including the cast of Jersey Shore as themselves for much of the film. Jersey Shore would be canceled later that year (though a sequel series later premiered in 2018 and is still ongoing as of 2021).
  • Tragedy Girls is a satire of a particular type of True Crime fan that proliferated in the 2010s, the film's Villain Protagonists Sadie and McKayla being two teenage girls who are obsessed with murderers in a manner that recalls the real-life "Columbiner" communities of that era. Much of that culture died out after the Parkland shooting and the March for Our Lives in 2018, a year after this film came out, with the online true crime community (at least its more mainstream segments) coming to regard the sort of idolization being parodied here as tasteless.
  • Unfriended:
    • The original film is built around an extremely accurate depiction of social media, computer technology, and various websites as they existed in the mid-2010s. Given the rapid pace at which the internet changes, people watching the film now would likely notice how all of those things have been redesigned in various ways just a few short years after it came out. One website shown in the film, the YouTube competitor LiveLeak that emphasized graphic, uncensored content, went offline in 2021. Perhaps most notably, the film depicts teenagers regularly using Facebook, which in 2015 was still thought of, like social media in general, as a website where teenagers were the main demographic. Over the next few years, Facebook would lose much of its young userbase to competitors like Snapchat, TikTok, Twitter, and Vine due to the company's many scandals, as well as to its subsidiary Instagram, such that by the '20s it had earned a reputation as a site for their Amazingly Embarrassing Parents instead.
    • The sequel Unfriended: Dark Web, meanwhile, is rooted mainly in contemporary Urban Legends about The Deep Web, which became notorious in the '10s as the home of a Black Market where drugs, weapons, child porn, and other illegal services can be found and purchased — and, according to the legends, where one could find livestreaming snuff films and worse.
  • Though primarily set in the The War on Terror era, Vice's political views are influenced by Trumpian, reactionary conservatism, particularly in the clips of the film's Focus Group at the end.
  • Zoolander 2, much like the aforementioned A Thousand Words, was criticized as this for the previous decade when it was released in 2016. The movie's merciless mocking of the fashion world was seen as not only mean-spirited (in spite of the fact many of the industry's leading figures joined in) but fairly dated at a time when the "supermodel culture" was experiencing a huge comeback, thanks to the rise of social media (Instagram especially) as a major self-promotion platform for models.

    2010s Jokes 

    2010s Literature 
  • Kire tries so hard to be cool and hip it ultimately falls into this trope. The main character has a Darth Vader alarm clock (it's not unusual, but it does give him a distinctive "90s kid" vibe) and a superfluous amount of "Justin Bieber is totally lame!" comments.
  • The book Alice in Tumblr-Land, a modern retelling of fairy tales, which relies on the existence of Tumblr, OKCupid, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc. for most of its humor. It's painfully dated to the mid-2010s and as such will fail to be relevant within a couple of years.
  • OMG Shakespeare is a series of books that attempt to modernize the works of William Shakespeare by making everything into text and text-speak. The constant use of slang and emoji will likely quickly date them to being released circa 2015.
  • The Origami Yoda series is full of early-mid 2010s pop-culture references and views. Examples include Ambiguously Gay Murky receiving homophobic bullying, the much-disliked FunTime program showing an educational parody of Gangnam Style (though to the book's credit, the characters do mention that the song came "a few years back"), and Professor FunTime's actor receiving a role in "the upcoming Star Wars movie" (meaning that the events in the book took place sometime before 2015, when The Force Awakens came out).
  • Ben Aaronovitch has lamented that the London Metropolitan Police reinvents itself so often that the meticulously researched Rivers of London books can usually be dated precisely to the year before they were published. However, because the time elapsed in the books is much shorter than the time it takes to write them, they've gradually become intentional period pieces: Lies Sleeping (2018) opens with a police report that dates the novel to 2014, and later namechecks Michelle Obama as First Lady.
  • Ernest Cline's Ready Player One, published in 2011, is set 20 Minutes into the Future but otherwise reflects much of the worldview of the late 2000s/early 2010s time period in which it was written and grew popular, most notably the prevalence of nostalgia for The '80s (it takes place largely in a virtual world rooted in its creator's '80s nostalgia) and the ascendancy of the internet and geek culture within the mainstream during that time. Of particular note is how this trope affected the book's film adaptation in 2018, by which point Silicon Valley tech companies and geek culture had been embroiled in various controversies that clouded the once unambiguously positive view that many people had of them. The resulting film (which was co-written by Cline) wound up softening the specific '80s focus of the OASIS in favor of a broader pool of pop culture references, as well as toning down some of Wade's Hollywood Nerd tendencies and giving a more morally gray take on the OASIS' Steve Jobs-esque creator James Halliday.
  • The Ultra Violets suffers heavily from this. The book series is bogged down by constant references to pop culture, most of which have become dated since the series' release. One notable example comes from the second book, where the villain quotes a Rihanna song when enacting their evil plan.
  • The Time Travel novel "A Girl in Time", by Australian author John Birmingham, was clearly written during the 2016 US Presidential election - the middle third is set in November 2019, in the midst of a dystopian Trump presidency where political dissenters are sent to work on building the Mexican wall and communication with them is tightly proscribed, as well as gun control being significantly loosened to the point open-carry is permitted in Seattle.
  • Futuristic Violence And Fancy Suits was written in 2015 and set 20 Minutes into the Future. Much of it is still relatable, but even just over five years later it's managed to date itself to concepts that were popular in 2015. The greater public owns self-driving cars (which might yet become popular but were mostly put on hold just a few years later after killing and injuring a number of people during tests and early adoption); more glaring is a reference to Jaden Smith as an action star (now unlikely as his star has faded with several bombs and obvious evidence of his father's nepotism).

    2010s Live-Action TV 
  • Spike TV's failed 2011 pilot for Alternate History explores a world where America lost the Second World War and came under the control of the Nazis. What puts it squarely into this trope is the conclusion, which predicts that the Nazis' iron-fisted police state will be eroded by the rise of the internet, enabling people across the continent to connect with each-other and organize protests. Its a clear reflection of the optimism surrounding social media and the tech industry at the turn of the decade, as well as the in-the-moment perception of The Arab Spring.
  • Arrowverse: References to 2010 pop culture aside (starting from the first episode of Arrow that makes jokes about Lost) and then-president Obama, followed by the sister show The Flash (2014) featuring a Hollywood Nerd among the main cast who regularly references The Big Bang Theory), the building blocks of the shows draw inspiration from the books DC Comics were putting out at the time and the general tone DC's editorial were pushing. Arrow is a Darker and Edgier adaptation that focuses on a Younger and Hipper Oliver Queen (as he was in the New 52), that also downplayed the Green Arrow-Black Canary romance (at the time, the two were broken up), and Oliver's political opinions, which are almost all gone (New 52 Green Arrow was notably uncharacteristically apolitical). The Flash similarly focusing on a Younger and Hipper Barry Allen (who was resurrected a few years prior and took lead focus away from his successor, Wally West) and has his The Flash: Rebirth backstory, while the extended Flash Family Demoted to Extra or unadapted (they were Exiled from Continuity at the time to maintain sole focus on Barry). All of this would become awkward within their own lifetimes, as DC Rebirth saw a return of Green Arrow's politics and the Arrow-Canary ship, while also seeing the return of Wally West and, later, the Flash Family. With Infinite Frontier also seeing Wally West take over the mantle of the primary Flash, the show's continued use of Barry as the lead stands somewhat as The Artifact of the time it was created as a result.
  • A funny one occurred on NCIS: Los Angeles when the subject of one episode involved Libyan government agents sent by Muammar Gaddafi killing a rebel propagandist and trying to use his identity to lure the rebel leadership into an ambush. Obviously written and filmed when the Libyan Civil War seemed (from the outside) to be deadlocked, by the time the episode aired on October 11, 2011, the rebels would be more properly called "the Libyan government", having been recognized as such internationally in September, with Gaddafi the one on the run who should be wary of ambushes (he would be captured and killed just nine days after the episode aired, on October 20). The references to The Arab Spring also clearly date the episode.
  • House of Cards (US):
    • Despite beginning in 2013, the show's portrayal of the US Congress was pretty clearly based on its makeup before 2010. Francis Underwood is initially portrayed as a "Blue Dog" Democratnote  from South Carolina who serves as the Majority Whip of the House of Representatives since the Democrats are the majority party in the House when the show begins. The "wave" elections of 2010 and 2014 saw virtually all the Blue Dog Democrats swept from both chambers of Congress and replaced with Tea Party Republicans, and the Democratic Party wouldn't gain control of the House again until 2018, now dominated by unabashedly left-leaning figures.
    • In general, some reviewers have argued that the show's depiction of American politics is pretty dated to the pre-Trump era. The show is known for its deeply cynical attitude towards the American Political System's "consensus politics" that followed the Cold War, generally portraying the Republican and Democratic parties as interchangeable groups of establishment figureheads who care more about money and power than about the people they're supposed to represent, and only want to maintain the status quo at all costs. That attitude quickly went out of fashion as the Tea Party and Occupy movements that sprung up as a reaction to "neocons" and "neolibs" gained political influence and became finally obliterated after Donald Trump's highly controversial election and presidency brought political polarization to new heights and led to a new wave of active political engagement on both sides of the aisle.
    • The presidential election in the middle of the fifth season (released in 2017) firmly weds it to the previous year's real-life presidential election, with the fictional FBI director stating that the bureau "would never involve itself in a presidential election" while all but staring into the camera.
    • Walker's resignation at the end of season 2 while facing impeachment over a minor crime would be a hard sell after Donald Trump's impeachments in 2019 and 2021. Most people would think "Walker would never be impeached for such a small crime" (or at least "There's no way he would voluntarily resign") given the nature of the allegations against Trump, and the fact that his own party ultimately stood by him.
  • In season 2 of The Middle, Frankie obsesses over the "Royal Wedding" of William and Kate, firmly fixing the episode in 2011.
  • While Broad City has a semi-gentrified aesthetic that could date it badly, there are a few moments that stand out as very 2010s:
    • In a Season 1 episode, Lincoln tells a gay character "I'm not getting married until everyone can get married", dating it to before 2015.
    • The montage in the first episode of Season 3 features Abby wearing a white and gold dress at the same time as Ilana wearing a blue and black dress, referencing the meme from early 2015.
    • A Season 3 episode shows Ilana temporarily working at Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign headquarters, instantly dating the episode to 2016.
    • A couple of episodes in Season 4 immediately date to 2017: In the first instance, Ilana gets upset when she has to remove her impractical Obama-themed nails ("It's like they're leaving office all over again!"). She then realizes in the latter episode that she hadn't been able to have an orgasm since Trump was elected. Speaking of the Donald, his name is censored every time it's spoken aloud for the entire season.
  • The pilot of Terriers has a smartphone with a sex tape on it as a MacGuffin, and the novelty of it being able to record video is repeatedly remarked upon, putting it firmly in the tail end of the 2000s/beginning of the 2010s.
  • In Warehouse 13, practically everybody's cellphone is a Blackberry, and there's a noticeable shift from using the ones with tactile switch keypads to touchscreen phones between seasons 3 and 4, firmly rooting the series in the early 2010s when Blackberry began to abandon its flagship product. There are more intentional references to the time period, like the "Got Your Six" lapel pins, Pete and Claudia's fondness of internet memes, and of course newspaper dates, but the transition from cellphones to smartphones was something the writers couldn't have planned for.
  • Parks and Recreation:
    • The Season 2 episode "Sister City" features a group of delegates from Venezuela visiting Pawnee as part of an exchange program, with the episode openly mocking Venezuela's then-President Hugo Chávez. Chávez died in office just four years after that episode aired, instantly dating it. The same episode subtly references the Venezuelan economic boom that occurred during Chavez's tenure, with the delegation frequently bragging about their town's prosperity, and showing off their wealth by spending money in frivolous ways; this instantly became dated after Venezuela's economy collapsed during Nicolás Maduro's presidency, and the country's economic hardships subsequently became the subject of many headlines.
    • In general, the show's characters and premise are a pretty good encapsulation of the social and political climate of America in the early-2010s. The cheery bureaucrat Leslie Knope is largely a poster girl for Obama-era liberalism, to the point that she keeps a portrait of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton framed in her office. Her boss Ron Swanson, meanwhile, is largely reflective of America's then-burgeoning libertarian block, which championed "small government" conservatism while supporting socially liberal policies (particularly LGBT rights). Both factions took a pretty big beating in the following years, as the libertarians were (for the moment) eclipsed by the rise of a more reactionary brand of conservative populism with the Tea Party-led 2014 midterm elections and Donald Trump's 2016 campaign, while Leslie's idol Hillary Clinton faced an unexpected challenge from the progressive movement led by Bernie Sanders and was eventually defeated by Trump in one of the biggest political upsets in American history. But this in turn has been somewhat subverted (at least for Leslie's side) as of 2020, when Leslie's other favorite politician, then-Vice President Joe Biden, ran and won against Trump, albeit with slightly more progressive policies than Obama (largely due to the influence of progressives such as Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the party platform).
  • Portlandia, as explained in this article by William Hughes of The AV Club, was firmly rooted in a period of Obama-era liberal optimism, and in affectionately parodying the hipster culture of the time. Notably, the last couple of seasons wound up dealing with the growing cynicism and reactionary politics that eventually gave way to the Trump era.
  • One of the questions on QI was "what has twenty legs, five heads, and can't reach its own nuts?" Jeremy Clarkson answers "Westlife", a reference outdated enough not to get the klaxon; Jimmy Carr's answer, One Direction, does. In time, both answers will be equally outdated.
  • Scream Queens (2015)'s second season heavily dates itself to 2016. They range from the superficial — a Take That! to Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Denise dressing up as the Khaleesi for Halloween — to the major. Denise goes into a coma and wakes up asking how Hillary Clinton is doing as the first female president — as the series aired while the presidential election was going on.
  • Just as much as the original, the 2010s relaunch of Whose Line Is It Anyway? is loaded with topical references. Especially notable is a Scenes From a Hat where one scene is "Facts you wish weren't true." Ryan Stiles simply says loudly and firmly, "The news,"note  takes a bow, and Aisha instantly moves to the next scene as if no one could possibly top that.
  • Last Man Standing. Vox TV critic/reviewer Emily VanDerWerff described it as a modern-day All in the Family in how it encapsulated the Angry White Man mindset of the 2010s in the form of Tim Allen's protagonist Mike Baxter, a conservative, Archie Bunker-esque, "man's man" suburban dad who finds himself increasingly confounded by a world whose changing social mores seem to be leaving men like him behind.
  • Person of Interest, with government surveillance central to its premise, could only have come out (at least as it did) in a narrow band of years around 2011 – long enough after 9/11 for the backstory to work, but before the Edward Snowden revelations. A first-season episode feels like a Ripped from the Headlines version of the Snowden case, but predates it by over a year.
  • Silicon Valley was Mike Judge's satire of the titular tech industry hub as it existed in the 2010s, and as the decade wore on (as noted in this 2019 article by Fahrad Manjoo for The New York Times), not only did it reflect the shift in attitudes that people had towards that industry, it frequently referenced and parodied the scandals that caused that shift. When the show premiered in 2014, it presented its protagonists more or less sympathetically, as geniuses on the path to success whose lives within the cultural bubble that was Silicon Valley made them, their puffed-up egos, and their antisocial behavior merely quirky. By the time of the show's final season in 2019, when tech companies ranging from giants like Facebook and Amazon to unicorn startups like Uber and WeWork had been battered by a seemingly ceaseless tide of controversy, its tone, while still comedic, was a lot less sympathetic to its characters. Their idealistic attitude about saving the world through technology was portrayed as increasingly hollow, easily discarded, and perhaps misguided from the start, and the question was not if their start-up company Pied Piper would be successful, but when and how it would all come crashing down.
  • Glee. Though there were plenty of songs that were dated when they were performed on the show, the use of music that had just gotten big (or in some cases, music that got big from being on the show) firmly entrenches each season in the years it came out. Beyond that, the pop culture references and optimistic outlook very much reflects the Obama era surrounding it similar to Parks and Rec above.
  • An episode of the first series of Rev. managed to become this between filming and broadcast. The plot of the episode revolved around Adam becoming jealous of a fellow reverend with a high media profile and trying to build one himself by appearing on The One Show (an early evening Magazine Show in the UK), with presenters Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley appearing As Themselves. Unfortunately, several months before the episode was broadcast, Chiles and Bleakley both defected to rival network ITV and were no longer presenting the show by the time it aired.

    2010s Music 
  • The Rise Against song "Make It Stop (September's Children)", which is about homophobic bullying and makes reference to a number of then-recent high-profile gay teen suicides.
  • "#SELFIE" by The Chainsmokers is ingrained with early-mid 2010s culture, with lyrics about taking selfies with Instagram (Specifically Instagram circa 2014. It is normal for a trendy young person to just post a casual spur-of-the-moment selfie, with the obsessive Instagram culture that exists), "Summertime Sadness" and referring to another girl as "ratchet".
  • "Gun Fight" by Sick Puppies references the American presidents Bush and Obama, which pins the song firmly from the late 2000s to early 2010s.
  • "Cost of Livin'" by Ronnie Dunn (2011) fell into this, as the hook mentions "Three dollars and some change at the pump / The cost of livin's high and goin' up", and even has an edit that says "four dollars". The song's premise of an older man pleading for a job is clearly a reflection of the zeitgeist of the Great Recession. In addition, the national US average for a gallon of gas fell into the $2.00-$2.50 range soon after.
  • "Beauty And A Beat" by Justin Bieber has the line "We gonna party like it's 3012 tonight." Three guesses when the song was made, and the first two don't count.

    2010s Video Games 
  • The Binding of Isaac is filled with references to memes of the 2000s/early 2010s, which become increasingly out of place as Rebirth's expansions continued throughout the 2010s. Rage faces are found frequently and one of the items is literally just Shoop Da Whoop (and this item also has a chance of being dropped by a miniboss that has a permanent trollface for his expression), both of which are memes that had generally fallen out of style in the Internet's eyes even when Afterbirth+ came out.
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops II:
    • One level is set on a luxurious floating city, with all sorts of the game's crazy-futuristic 2025 technology present both in the city's security and the player's covert military tech... and a dance floor filled with people dancing to (and later infiltrators shooting it out to) dubstep from Skrillex, something which started seeming old-hat just a few years after its 2012 release.
    • There's also both the presence of David Petraeus as the Secretary of Defense (the game releasing just three days after he resigned from his position as CIA Director) and a shot of a then-new YouTube layout that was, as it tends to be whenever actually depicted, very quickly and noticeably changed.
    • Finally, they portrayed the President as not only being female but as a clear-cut Expy of Hillary Clinton, making it clear who they thought would be the president down the line, as it was widely believed she would be the next after Obama, only for her to lose the 2016 election.note 
    • The YouTube and Twitter interfaces depicted in the game now look very old with the two websites having updated its user interfaces several times by now.
  • Death Road to Canada contains multiple references to Barack Obama, who was president at the time of the game's release.
    Low Wits Character: Thanks a lot zombie Obama.
  • Far Cry 3, released in 2012, features a dubstep-heavy soundtrack (especially in the "Kick the Hornet's Nest" quest, which incorporated a reggae-dubstep soundtrack to accompany burning marijuana fields with a flamethrower) and the main cast of privileged teens who could be seen as a commentary on then-sprouting "Instagram culture". The game also makes several references to Alice in Wonderland, a reflection of the Grimmification that was popular in the era. Furthermore, the description for the Z93 makes a reference to FPSRussia, a then-prominent gun-focused YouTube personality who fell by the wayside in the mid-late 2010s after the rise of other gun channels and a slew of legal troubles that effectively killed the channel.
  • Forza Horizon, released in 2012, has a rather tragic example of this that happened right from the get-go. The soundtrack features two songs from Lostprophets (namely, "Bring 'Em Down" and "We Bring an Arsenal"), something that would be unthinkable just a few months later, where frontman Ian Watkins was arrested, charged, and sentenced to 35 years in prison for child molestation.
    • On a less disturbing note regarding the soundtrack, electronic station Horizon Bass Arena is filled with brostep music that was very popular at the time, but has since fallen out of style (Bass Arena in later games switched to house music and electronica to keep current), making listening to it now feel like a product of the time.
    • Also, the DJ on the rock station makes a crack about the Mayan Doomsday when discussing Darius Flynt's success in the competition, firmly pegging the game to the early 2010s when that was the subject of a great deal of media attention.
  • Jurassic Park: The Game is mostly pretty good about avoiding this, but one thing that pins its release date specifically to the year 2011 is the fact that the accompanying manual claims Torosaurus is the mature form of Triceratops. This was a short-lived, controversial theory that briefly gained mainstream attention while the game was in development.
  • Pom Gets Wi Fi is filled to the brim with memes that were popular on Tumblr in 2013, making it extremely dated to anyone who played it even a year later.
  • KanColle has a few lines uttered by ship girls that make references to Japanese pop-culture of when it first came out (2013), instantly dating itself to the very year. One of the characters makes a vague reference of Waratte Iitomo, a popular TV show that aired at noon. The show ended a year after the game was released. Oops. This also counts as an Early Installment Weirdness, however, as subsequently added characters and additional lines to existing ones make little to no pop-culture references.
  • Through its numerous pop culture references, REIMAGINE :the game: can be dated from 2010 to early 2011. The references include Super Meat Boy, Lady Gaga's meat dress, Justin Bieber, Double Rainbow, Friday by Rebecca Black, 3D movies, the Tea Party, the iPad, Portal 2, Toy Story 3, Lost, Kesha, Kick-Ass, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Black Swan, Inception, the TSA scandal, the BP Oil Spill, Wikileaks, and My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.
  • Watch_Dogs 2 was noted for this before it even came out. Given how reliant its story is on Ripped from the Headlines references to Silicon Valley tech culture, contemporary political and cultural controversies (especially concerning the impending Presidential election), and people like Martin Shkreli and Brock Turner, it is a game that is set in, and could only have been set in, the San Francisco Bay Area in the spring/summer of 2016.
  • Saints Row: The Third, in the same vein as its predecessor was to 2008, is obviously dated to its 2011 release despite its apparent setting being much further than that (in-game hints suggest it's 2014), particularly in the music and fashion. This is especially evident in the dedicated Adult Swim radio station, which as Product Placement is obviously dated to what was big (or existent) late in 2011.
    • While several of the shows the songs come from continued running for several years afterwards (The Venture Bros. until 2018, Squidbillies) or are otherwise still relevant from reruns, the station's host is Jon from Delocated, a show that technically ended less than six months later, and several of the songs are either from or otherwise related to shows that stopped producing new episodes not too long afterwards, including:
      • "Sports" from Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, which ended in 2010.
      • A remix of the Aqua Teen Hunger Force theme — even the show itself had stopped using the theme earlier in that year after it started renaming itself with each new season until it ended in 2015.
      • Cheesburger's "Winner", owing to their composing the theme song for Superjail!, which ended in 2014.
      • Odd Future's "Anarchy", foreshadowing for Loiter Squad, which hadn't even begun airing at that point (and would go on to only air for two years before Odd Future moved on).
      • Dethklok's "The Cyborg Slayers" — while the real people masquerading as the band are still making music, the show in question ended regular seasons in 2012.
      • And DangerDOOM's "Basket Case", the most dated of all, being made in 2005 and with voice clips from a show that had stopped airing, much less producing new episodes, years before the game's release.
    • Conversely, several more recent and wildly successful shows or programming blocks, like the Toonami revival (mid-2012) or Rick and Morty (late 2013), are conspicuous in their complete absence.
  • Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, which came out in November 2011, takes place mostly in Syria and Yemen, which are portrayed as (relatively) stable, peaceful countries. The game was not changed in any way to reflect The Arab Spring, which began in the midst of the game's development in late 2010/early 2011 and has left both countries embroiled in conflict and civil war ever since.
  • Playstation All Stars Battle Royale is very much rooted in 2012, given the presence of a number of franchises that were major players in that era, but have declined, had major overhauls, or fallen into obscurity since then. The biggest is the reboot version of Dante, whose game underperformed significantly the following year, but similar things could be said of the heavy representation given to Infamous, Killzone, or LittleBigPlanet, none of whom fared especially well after 2012. The lack of Crash Bandicoot or Spyro the Dragon representation, which was controversial but somewhat understandable considering their respective low ebbs at the time, looks downright nonsensical after the smash success of their respective remakes. Conversely, Sir Daniel Fortesque's appearance made little sense at the time (a decently big name on the PlayStation in his day, to be sure, but his last original outing was in early 2000) but would turn out to be oddly prophetic years later.
  • This phenomenon is largely considered to be the reason why Dikembe Mutombo's 4½ Weeks to Save the World was pulled from the Old Spice website (and effectively scrubbed from the internet, barring unofficial fan backups) after its completion. The premise of the game is that the Mayan prophecies of the world being destroyed in 2012 will come true unless former NBA player Dikembe Mutombo can stop a series of events that will bring about its fulfillment. The game is dependent on events that took place in 2012, including the then-looming U.S. fiscal cliff deadline extension, the glut of teen horror movies like Twilight, the state of Florida constantly accruing errors in the voting process during the 2012 election campaign, Kate Middleton's pregnancy and the (short-lived) closing of Hostess, complete with a character singing a mournful melody for its failure (the company would relaunch and bring its products back to shelves just weeks later).
  • The BoxxyQuest games suffer of this because they rely an awful lot on the Internet culture back then when the games were released: ranging from the real life persons appearing in the work (Ray William Johnson and PewDiePie being the big bad bosses of YouTube by the virtue of having the most subscribers back then, moot still being in charge of keeping the 4Chan chuckleheads in line despite having stepped down from the site in 2015), the inspiration of some of the places visited (Chapter 5 being greatly influenced by Creepypastas despite those having suffered a steep decline since the mid 2010 and being not longer a thing in the 2020s), and trends that were making new waves (Feminist Frequency's Anita Sarkeesian as an insane cult leader using her army of Social Justice Warriors to take over Tumblr to establish a feminist dictatorship, parodying what people thought she was actually trying to do) just to name a few. Hilariously, some of the criticisms by the game are still valid (Reddit's obsession over upvotes is still terrible, so is YouTube's administration in general and GameFAQs' moderation being both overbearing and ineffectual, etc. That says more about those sites than it does about the game.

    2010s Web Original 
  • This trope is lampshaded by Matt and Pat of Two Best Friends Play during their playthrough of Resident Evil 4. Early on Matt talks about how early previews of The Evil Within have been rather mixed during the PAX video game convention in spring 2014, and then says afterward "oh wow this is going to be weird to watch in a few years." Later when Matt brings up a then-current event of Vince McMahon having lost millions of dollars, Pat comments "wow you're really dating this video now." They even eventually make a comment on how the game manages to date itself with a line about how the word "terrorism" is "such a popular word these days" (Resident Evil 4 came out in 2005 when the War on Terror was still pretty relevant).
  • Kickassia features The Nostalgia Chick as a parody of Sarah Palin in her role as Vice President of the titular microstate — which some critics derided as dated even when it was first released (in mid-2010).
  • The Nostalgia Chick:
    • Her overview of the My Little Pony franchise in February 2010 is instantly dated to before My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, which came out that October, was made. A big part of the review is her comparing My Little Pony to Transformers in that the latter had recognizable and identifiable characters, whereas the former was made up of interchangeable toys that girls liked to customize. One of the reasons Friendship is Magic was such a success is because of its developed and fleshed out characters. What's more is that Lindsay does not mention the "Brony" phenomenon, which would have been a big talking point had the review been done after the show had started.
    • Her video list of the "Worst (and Least Awful) Female Superhero Movies" shows that it was made before the Marvel Cinematic Universe had really taken off. It was uploaded in mid-2012, right around the time The Avengers was released. Notably, she doesn't talk about the controversy about Black Widow not having her own movie or the fact that she's suspiciously left out of merchandise — or the similar issues with Gamora for the Guardians of the Galaxy movie. Conversely the Smurfette Breakout of Peggy Carter — who got an expanded role in the comics, a short film and her own TV series — is not mentioned at all. Lindsay also talks about the Development Hell for the Wonder Woman movie — which was finally released in 2017 to worldwide acclaim. And overall the video shows it was made before the likes of The Hunger Games (slightly after, in this case), Divergent, Snow White and the Huntsman and other movies helped to make female-led action movies more accepted by the mainstream.
  • The Onion: This article from 2013, a mocking commentary "by" Donald Trump, is centered on the notion that the then-host of The Apprentice would soon begin a rapid decline and fall out of the spotlight as he becomes a "pathetically impotent, papery husk of a once-powerful man." By the fourth anniversary of the article's publication, Trump had been inaugurated as the President of the United States — something that the authors of the article clearly never imagined. The article was irreversibly dated to the period between 2008-2015 when Trump was most famous for being a reality show host and real estate mogul, as well as his promotion of conspiracy theories surrounding Barack Obama. Technically, however, everything in the article still has the potential to become reality; just with radically different contexts surrounding Trump.
  • The Arctic Lizard, a satirical online short story by Israeli author Etgar Keret, unfortunately, falls into this. The story on its own is well written, but the massive amount of references to concerns in 2016 immediately dates it to that year. The story takes place in a dystopian future, during Donald Trump's third term as US president, where after a war with Mexico (which leads to World War III), the government has set up a military unit composed exclusively of teenagers. While Trump did get elected and fears of war were widespread, these mostly had to do with North Korea and Russia, as after Trump's election, Mexico made it clear that they didn't actually consider him a threat at all, meaning that a war would be unnecessary. As the story progresses, it is revealed that to get children to join the army, the government set up "Destromons Go", a thinly-veiled parody of Pokémon GO (which is still popular today, but not to the same extent as when it was first released in 2016) and spawned extremely rare and powerful monsters at specific battle sites (with the titular Arctic Lizard being one that the protagonist has). As many were exasperated with the game's fanbase during its run, leading to a stereotype of the game's players being Too Dumb to Live people caring only about Pokémon, the story also contains multiple jabs towards the game, especially at the climax, where the protagonist manages to successfully finish off the second-in-command of Al Qaeda but is quickly forgotten after his unit learns that one of the other soldiers found a rare monster at the same site.
  • Homestuck tends to fall into this trope, both because the story was essentially a long conversation with its author and the audience, and because the comic itself was heavily shaped by internet culture (which changes very rapidly), with a large chunk of the story being told through online interactions between the characters. Earlier Call Backs and gags came from Hussie's writings in the early 2000s, but a good chunk of the story was written in the 2010s. As a result, many references both significant and otherwise became outdated. Whenever kids talk about Discredited Memes, they usually mention that the joke fell out of favor a few years before the start of the comic (2009). Music acts like the Insane Clown Posse are major characters or serve as inspirations for how other characters act. A character based on the mid-2010s perception of Tumblr, a segment where dialog is done in the style of Twitter posts with once-popular feed Horse_Ebooks immortalized as a steady stream of nonsense before its creator revealed it to be part of an Alternate Reality Game, a major villain based on mid-2010s urban culture (and somehow manages to use Blingee on real-life objects), and the credits told in Snapchat photos all point to the 2010-2016 era of internet shenanigans. The extremely interactive meta-narrative of the story can also point to this era, as a lot of contemporary media at this time had some sort of self-aware, Troperiffic angle to it.
  • "4chumblr" was a meme that arose from the Fandom Rivalry between 4chan and Tumblr. It featured Anthropomorphic Personifications of the sites. However, at the time Tumblr was a relatively new and niche website most well-known for its hipster and fashion blogs run by 20-somethings. While Tumblr still has a strong fashion blog fanbase, the image of the website has changed drastically. It's more associated with political, LGBT, and fandom blogs run by young teens joining those 20-somethings on the site.
  • Due to its once-per-year update schedule (normally being a Halloween special), early episodes of Hellsing Ultimate Abridged became these as time wore on, due to their reference-heavy humor. Episodes 1 to 4, in particular, tend to show off the style of humor and references that were popular in the year they were released in, with references to several properties that were popular or had a ton of attention at the time, including Twilight, Portal, Epic Meal Time, and My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. Takahata101 even considers the Epic Meal Time reference cringeworthy because of it, and KaiserNeko isn't a fan of their portrayal of Rip Van Winkle (a meme-spouting Attention Whore Soapbox Sadie who is essentially a giant Take That! to 2013 Tumblr), considering it to be an Old Shame. Indeed, in the marathon that aired prior to the grand finale, Taka and Kaiser both iterated that they considered Episodes 2 and 4 to be peak cringe for the series.
  • The Cinema Snob frequently derides the porn parodies produced by the Wood Rocket company (mostly made around the mid-2010s) for, among numerous other reasons, constantly invoking this trope with lots of of-the-moment jokes that age poorly. A notable example is Gnardians of the Galaxy, in which the "Drax" parody makes fun of the DC Extended Universe for not making a Wonder Woman movie — by the time of the Snob review, Wonder Woman (2017) was just weeks from release, a fact which the Snob was more than happy to snark on.
  • Bob Chipman discussed this trope in this episode of The Big Picture, dedicated to the movies, good and bad, that he felt defined and best reflected the culture of the 2010s. He brought up how "cultural decades" rarely correspond to the actual calendar years, noting how most of what pop-culture remembers as "the '60s" came during the years 1964-72, treating the first third of the decade as an extension of the 1950s while spilling over into the 1970s, and how "the '70s" were more or less over by 1978 depending on where one lived.
  • Free Spirit mostly averts this by using references to 70's and 80's pop culture to fit with the time period in which the show it adapts is set, but sometimes, then-current events are referenced to adapt the show to a modern setting:
    • "I Love Bread" references the 13 Reasons Why controversy and has Oprah Winfrey's ad for Weight Watchers as a plot device. It also mentions Cagney & Lacey airing on This TV in the middle of the night, a practice of which stopped after StartTV got the rights to the show.
    • "Robb's Not Dead" has a plot based on the Windows 10 Version 1809 update that deleted users' files.
    • "Cartoon Brew" references Butch Hartman's Noog Network streaming service and also features a parody of the Thundercats Roar controversy using the Show Within a Show Extreme Lips.
  • Ironically for something intended to update Seinfeld for The New '10s, many tweets by the Twitter account Seinfeld Today (aka Modern Seinfeld) fall into this. Some fall into this by default due to being centered around specific events and trends, while others are dated in other ways. One example is a Running Gag about Kramer's vehement dislike of then-mayor Michael Bloomberg's policies; Bloomberg would leave office in 2013.

    2010s Western Animation 
  • BoJack Horseman: Each season draws heavily on the state of Hollywood at the exact time it was made. Especially noticeable is "Hank After Dark", a parody of the Bill Cosby affair that serves as a bitter condemnation of people's tendency to not care when beloved public figures are accused of sexual deviancy. Two years later, the #MeToo movement blew the lid off this kind of thing in a big way for many people.
  • Cartoon Network's MAD (which ran from 2010 to 2013) fell into this, since many of its parodies were of then-recent pop culture artifacts, not just popular media of the time like My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Twilight, Glee, Jersey Shore, or Avatar, but media that was forgotten more quickly by the masses like I Love You, Man, Whitney, I Hate My Teenage Daughter, Escape from Planet Earth or Hop. Its depictions of celebrities are also pretty dated, making fun of Justin Bieber when he was still a teenage heartthrob, Lady Gaga when she was known for her weird outfits, and Kristen Stewart's stoic attitude back when she was only known as Bella Swan. Its recurrent gushing over Megan Fox didn't age too well either, as her sex symbol status and career would fade by the mid-2010s.
  • Fish Hooks has a few things that date it to the early 2010s. Many characters use flip phones, there's a character named Brandon Bubbler who is a parody of a young Justin Bieber, one episode called "Chicks Dig Vampires" is about Albert Glass pretending to be a vampire to win Esmargot's affections after seeing the girls get excited over teen vampire movies, clearly referencing the Twilight craze of the late-2000s/early-2010s, another episode, "Oscar is a Playa", references "Inglip", a classic Rage Comics face. In one episode, Oscar and his friends read a magazine called "Nintankndo Power", a parody of Nintendo Power, magazine which was discontinued in 2012.
  • The Total Drama franchise was eventually canceled because of this trope. It was initially made as an animated parody of Survivor as well as other similar reality TV game shows at the time. However, by the middle of the 2010s, reality TV was becoming much less popular, and while Survivor is still running as of 2020, it's not as relevant to modern pop culture as it once was, thus making what Total Drama was parodying in itself outdated.
    • In a more specific example, Action (which aired in 2009) had many jokes about Courtney's personal digital assistant, a device that would become obsolete with the rise of smartphones.
  • Teen Titans Go! has referenced several pieces of pop culture that would later become outdated within months to years after being broadcast:
  • The first season of Animaniacs (2020) was written in 2018, and for many reasons society had already dramatically shifted during those two years. The show acknowledges this in the "Catch-up Song"; the Warner Siblings ask whether things in the real world still pertain to their 2018 script, such as whether Trump is still president,note  and eventually resort to making wild guesses as to what the future looks like. Despite this, there are a few pieces that slip by, which include the "Reboot It!" song mentioning The X-Files and Murphy Brown, shows whose 2018 runs had ended prior to the year's end. The COVID-19 Pandemic also had a direct impact on the show, as it caused some of its segments to completely lose its relevancy in the process such as the one entitled "Gold Meddlers" that was written to tie in to the 2020 Olympics, which were postponed only 8 months prior to the show's debut, and the man-spreading-themed segment "Manny Manspeader," due to how the majority of U.S. theaters were still closed around that time, and the ones that weren't had to follow strict social distancing guidelines. Despite all of this, the List Song of all the First Ladies by Dot Warnernote  at least shows that Melania Trump's first term would end in 2020 (which could have just been added in last-minute).
  • The Amazing World of Gumball episode "The Copycats" revolves around the Wattersons dealing with a Chinese family copying everything they do. A key plot point is that the Chinese family has an equivalent of every one in the Watterson family except Anais. At the time it was produced, China was enforcing a policy limiting families to only have two children. Daughters tended to be aborted as sons were preferred. This policy came to effect in 2016, so it was still relevant when the episode premiered in 2017. This lasted until May 31st, 2021, when China proclaimed they've updated their policy to allow three-child families.
  • Much like the DC Animated Universe was for DC in the 1990s and early 2000s, The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!, which ran from 2010-2012, is a glimpse of a different, pre-The Avengers (2012) Marvel than what'd come afterward: Hank Pym and Janet van Dyne are main characters, Black Widow is only a recurring character, Carol Danvers is called "Ms. Marvel" and not "Captain Marvel", Loki is an unrependent villain, and several characters (including Kamala Khan, Miles Morales, and Spider-Gwen) don't appear, the Guardians of the Galaxy behave professionally, and characters related to the X-Men and Fantastic Four made guest appearances and cameos.

    2010s Other 
  • "Sheen or Gaddafi?" was an informal trivia game where participants would try to guess whose mouth a crazy quote came out of. It was popular in the year 2011, when both men were front page news due to the former having an extremely well-publicized battle with both addiction and CBS' higher-ups and the latter engaging in very brutal attempts to suppress dissent, leading to more attention given to self-aggrandizing, delusional, and just plain bizarre statements they'd made. Nowadays, few people talk about or even remember these weird comments, and so the game has faded into obscurity.


Possibly Instantly Dated:

  • The 1931 film Blonde Crazy involves a pair of con artists getting into and out of various other scams with other con artists. In one scene, the male lead's con artist buddy tries to get him to join in a Scamming the Bereaved con. The items being sold to the recently bereaved are...good luck swastikas.
  • Cecil B. DeMille's This Day And Age (1933): A group of boys take over a small town for a day. Innocuous enough, until a gangster murders their Jewish friend. Complaining that the law won't punish the criminal, they form a mob to capture him, even torturing him over a rat pit, an action the film endorses. Then they gather around a bonfire and sing patriotic songs. Thanks to its Unfortunate Implications, the movie was banned in several European countries for "strong Fascist tendencies" and has become virtually impossible to see today. Besides the movie's fascist implications, its celebration of teenaged vigilantes also became Harsher in Hindsight after the Brooke Hart incident that same year, where a lynch mob made up mostly of college students stormed a jail where two murder suspects were held and hanged them.
  • Kitty Foyle (produced in 1940, but based on a 1939 novel) is soaked in 1930s sexism, which began to look extremely dated after America entered the war following Pearl Harbor. Kitty lives in an apartment building where men aren't even allowed to visit. Her co-workers yammer on about how all they want is a man. Her handsome doctor suitor, who is meant to be the more sympathetic choice in the Love Triangle that forms the plot, plays solitaire with her on their first "date" as a test to make sure she isn't a Gold Digger. When he sees Kitty's less attractive roommates, he says "I've seen better specimens in a glass jar."
  • One of io9's chief criticisms of the 2010 movie adaptation of Gulliver's Travels was that it was "immediately dated" to 2010. The review called it "a ferociously shameless time capsule of 2010 pop culture."
  • Some Jerk with a Camera's "Sabrina Goes To Disney World" episode frequently references specific ads that were commonly played on the video's host site Blip.tv during Fall 2013 to January 2014, such as "Towin' in a Winter Wonderland" and "Blue Shield Floating Latina Mom Head". Quite unfortunately for him, these ads were switched for new ones the same day that the episode was put up, dating it from the very start.
  • The 2021 anime film Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop was already dated at release, as a major plot point had one of the main characters wear a mask everywhere to cover up her braces and buckteeth (and this is commented on as unusual). The movie was originally scheduled for release in May 2020, but delayed repeatedly for over a year by the COVID-19 Pandemic, which also turned mask-wearing into a global fact of life, thus instantly dating the movie to the pre-COVID times.
  • Joked about in Foxcade's Devil May Cry Special Edition retrospective from Feburary of 2021, in which he makes an offhand reference to Redditors buying up stock in GameStop en masse, putting hedge funds that were banking on the company failing into billions of dollars worth of debt, which was a major news story the month before. He immediately follows it with a caption reading "Super timely, not at all aged joke".

 
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The Falklands were invaded!

In order to cover for his live show, Krusty the Clown airs a rerun, hoping nobody will notice. Unfortunately, the episode chosen covered the Falklands War, which ended 12 years before the time of this airing.

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