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Unintentional Period Piece

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"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.


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it becomes more than a decade old due to the characters referencing old trends, wearing out-of-style fashions and using out-of-date technology, this trope only really applies to works that wear their dates so blatantly that a viewer can identify the era or even year it was made in as soon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".


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.


Subtropes include Fashion Dissonance (when this is caused by clothing and hairstyles alone), Dewey Defeats Truman (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 and Society Marching On, 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 recognisably 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 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.

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:

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    1920s Literature 


    1930s Comics 
  • The first volumes of Tintin were serialized and published weekly in the youth supplement of Belgian newspaper Le Vingtième Siècle, and included constant references to world news and celebrities of the moment (either directly or in No Celebrities Were Harmed fashion). After World War II many of these numbers were redrawn and rewritten to erase them.

    1930s Film 
  • 1934 film Smarty is a pretty amazing unintentional period piece from a couple of perspectives. First of all, it is wall-to-wall sex talk, non-stop double entendres, Joan Blondell getting a dress ripped off to expose her body in a negligee — all the Fanservice stamps this film dramatically as a memento of The Pre-Code Era, the 1930-34 time frame in which for a while Hollywood got very racy indeed. But beyond that, there's the central message of the film, best encapsulated in the line of dialogue "A good sock in the eye is something every woman needs at least once in her life." The movie suggests that women need to be kept in line with the occasional punch in the face. Blondell's character Vicki quite clearly likes getting punched in the face. At the end of the film, when her formerly wishy-washy husband finally hits her like he means it, her face lights up in joy. The final scene has Vicki on the couch, looking at her husband with bedroom eyes and saying "Tony — hit me again."
  • It's technically a film from the '40s (1941), but Disney's Dumbo has a very opaque '30s reference in its very first song, "Look Out for Mr. Stork." The singers casually mention "those quintuplets," which at the time would not have been necessary to explain because it is clearly a reference to the Dionne Quintuplets, five identical French-Canadian girls who became enormous celebrities during the Depression years simply by virtue of being quintuplets (and even that is dated, as quintuplets would hardly impress anyone today because nonuplets have since been born). The North American media obsessively covered the Dionne story for years (partly because it gave them an excuse to avoid any controversial economic or political topics that might have offended people in what was at the time a fairly heated social climate), with the result that the girls' entire childhood and adolescence became world news. You probably only remember the Dionne Quintuplets today if you're a Thirties buff, or a student of old newsreels, or maybe if you saw that South Park episode that subtly parodied the phenomenon with a big fuss in the town over five identical Romanian girls. Also, during the song "When I See an Elephant Fly", one of the crows makes a reference to then-President Franklin D. Roosevelt's "fireside chats".
  • The Little Rascals, which today come off as quaint stories your grandparents might tell about being children at the time. Specifically, it's about children during The Great Depression. In more than a few episodes, the children wonder where their next meal is coming from.
  • Gold Diggers of 1933 evokes The Great Depression in both its story and its songs. Justified in that the movie is very much about the difficulties of life in the Depression years.
  • Classic Universal horror movies like Dracula (1931) play their supernatural menaces with straight-faced sobriety that would never have survived an audience jaded by WWII.
  • In A Free Soul, Ace knows a terrible secret that he's blackmailing Jan with, demanding she marry him, a secret that Dwight thinks is serious enough to kill Ace over. The secret is—that Jan and Ace had sex without benefit of marriage.
  • Gabriel Over the White House could only have been made in the brief period between the Great Depression and the rise of Nazi Germany. It depicts a President who fixes America by abolishing the Constitution, creating a private police force, ascending as an absolute dictator, and forcing other nations into submission through a superior military. And all of this is treated as a good thing. Such a President then was viewed as a willful, active leader compared to the incompetent Herbert Hoover (and even Franklin D. Roosevelt voiced his support of the film). But after seeing the damage wreaked by totalitarian dictators leading to World War II, today there's no way any such President could be shown in film again without being depicted as a tyrant.
  • The same year (1933) saw Cecil B. DeMille's This Day and Age, which depicts a group of boys taking 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."
  • 1932 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 Bibles from the Dead con. The items being sold to the recently bereaved are...good luck swastikas.
  • Charlie Chan at the Olympics features Chan investigating a plot at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, and features possibly the most sympathetic portrayal of Nazi police ever depicted in American film. Even just a few years later, such a plot would be unthinkable.

    1930s Literature 
  • Most of the works of John Steinbeck are set in this era and refer to it.
  • The Macbeth Murder Mystery: Published at 1937, this short story involves shout outs to William Shakespeare (Hamlet and Macbeth), Ivanhoe, Lorna Doone, and Agatha Christie most famous creation, Hercule Poirot, all of them literary works that are well known today. Even the reference to Penguin Books is still valid! But sadly, one of the most important references on this short story, Mr. Pinkerton, the detective created by David Frome, has been out of print for years, enabling this trope. A pity because a great deal of the enjoyment comes from the reader’s knowledge of this particular character, but even so, this is still now an enjoyable reading.

    1930s Music 
  • Many popular songs of the first half of the decade alluded to The Great Depression in a way that hardship will end soon. The earliest versions of Irving Berlin's 1932 song "Let's Have Another Cup O' Coffee" had the lyrics "Mr. Herbert Hoover says that now's the time to buy", in reference to the then-President (renditions following the 1932 election would replace Hoover with "Mr. Franklin Roosevelt").

    1930s Theatre 
  • The Children's Hour takes place in the 1930s (1960s in the second film) and its plot could not occur much later than that. The concept of two teachers becoming social pariahs due to allegations of being in a same-gender relationship doesn't work in modern times, where LGBT people are much more accepted. As a result, revivals depict it as a period piece.
  • The Women. The author's 1960s Setting Update of her play has been generally ignored, and revivals tend to be based on Gorgeous Period Dress.
  • A Setting Update of Of Thee I Sing reached Broadway in 1952, and flopped. Later productions have reverted to the original 1931 version, in which "the country thinks it's got depression" but it turns out that posterity (not prosperity, as President Hoover said) is just around the corner. Even educated audience members may still wonder what moratorium the chorus of reporters didn't want to know about.
  • The plot of the 1938 musical Leave It to Me! relied on the facts that relations between the US and the USSR were relatively cordial, while their relations with Nazi Germany were not, and war in Europe, though seemingly imminent, was not yet a reality. Several of these facts changed irrevocably while the musical was in its post-Broadway tour.
  • Margin for Error, written in 1939, is tied to a rather specific point in the diplomatic history of Nazi Germany. The published script specifies the setting as "prior to September 1939," though its action would have remained mostly plausible in November when the play opened in New York. The Communist-Nazi alliance and invasion of Poland are brought up as predicted turns of events. The movie version was made after the U.S. entered World War II, which forced the plot to be framed as a flashback.
  • Face the Music (1932) begins on the joke that The Great Depression has reduced the rich and famous to eating at the Automat, with this scene leading into a Breakaway Pop Hit that includes Herbert Hoover among its optimistic references. The second act has a drinking song in ironic salute of the not-yet-repealed Eighteenth Amendment.

    1930s Western Animation 
  • The cartoons of Max and Dave Fleischer, especially when they'd have a Musical Episode featuring Cab Calloway or Louis Armstrong. Betty Boop herself, a flapper, had already become dated by the end of the 1930s. (Twenties in this case).
  • The Porky Pig cartoon "Porky's Super Service" (released in 1937) uses this trope when it shows the (at the time ridiculous) price for gas at Porky's station. A price that, today, just about everybody would kill for (ignoring inflation). Specifically, three cents per gallon before the various taxes and fees (some of which are added for comedic effect), forty-three cents per gallon after.note 


    1940s Film 
  • Anchors Aweigh was released as a morale booster for the US Navy. While WWII was clearly coming to an end in Europe, it was still raging in the Pacific where the Navy was actively engaged against the Japanese. The opening sequence of the film is clearly designed to make the nation feel good about its naval forces.
  • In some ways, The Great Dictator is actually quite ahead of its time in its satirical depiction of World War II, since it openly mocked the Nazis when the United States was still neutral. In other ways, though, it's clearly an early-1940s film, and its depiction of Nazi Germany can seem rather jarring to modern audiences. For one thing, Charlie Chaplin hadn't known the full scale of the Holocaust at the time the film was made (years later, he said if he had known, he wouldn't have made the movie at all), so he portrays the Nazis' domestic policies as much more mild than they really were, i.e. the Nazi stand-ins are shown bullying and harassing the Jews, but nothing much worse than that. For another thing, he focuses much of the plot on the rivalry between Hitler and Mussolini (er..."Hynkel" and "Benzino") over the occupation of Austria, and portrays Mussolini as a seriously intimidating rival to Hitler; the dispute over the occupation of Austria was big news in 1940, but it's only remembered as a minor historical footnote today, and Fascist Italy is only remembered as an ineffectual ally of Nazi Germany.
  • Likewise the award-winning The Three Stooges short You Nazty Spy! was based on prewar conceptions of the fascists as little more than thuggish buffoons; The Stooges (who were all Jewish) were devastated when they discovered the horrifying reality underlying all of the Nazis' pompous posturing.
  • Even that era's more serious anti-Nazi films like Fritz Lang's Man Hunt took the same line. In that film, Hitler's described as a "strutting little Caesar" whose greatest named atrocity is reintroducing the death penalty to Germany, which must have seemed underwhelming to American audiences.
  • Confessions Of A Nazi Spy, filmed in 1939 and released in 1940, portrayed the United States when it was feasible enough for German immigrants and German-Americans to have enough of a dual loyalty to the United States and Germany that they could be seduced into spying on the former for the latter. Several of the spies in the film are members of the German-American Bund, an organization that was already under Congressional investigation by 1938 and was actually outlawed by 1942 when the US was at war with Nazi Germany.
  • Casablanca was set in a time when America was neutral in WWII. As we all know, America entered the war in 1941.
  • Gentleman's Agreement, a 1947 film about antisemitism, references several 1940s politicians and scandals. At the time, its topicality made it Award Bait; today, these references would send a history professor running to The Other Wiki.
  • Mission to Moscow, The North Star and Song of Russia are the three primary examples of American pro-Soviet films. Their blind optimism about the nobility of Josef Stalin and advocacy for the US and USSR to remain steadfast allies stands in stark contrast to nearly every American film made during the Cold War, in which the Soviet Union was at worst a tyrannical empire, or at best simply the lesser evil compared to Nazi Germany. Then there's all the millions of executions and war crimes committed by Stalin that have been uncovered over the years. Needless to say, all of the films were products of the Hollywood war effort.
  • Pretty much any World War II film made while the war was still going on suffers from a lack of reference to the Holocaust, which was only discovered near the war's end. Thus, while the Germans are still portrayed as the bad guys, it's not on much of a moral level beyond any other war movie enemy.
  • The Big Sleep was filmed in 1944 while the war was still going on and got screened for soldiers overseas — but wasn't properly released until 1946. History savvy viewers will spot pictures of Franklin D Roosevelt on display — who died towards the end of the war and Harry S Truman was in power afterwards. Dead bodies are referred to as "red points", which was a common wartime phrase for meat rationing, and Philip Marlowe had a special sticker on his car to say he's contributing to the war effort and can therefore be given more than eight gallons of gasoline a day. There's also a female cab driver featured — in a time when women had taken up a lot of the jobs left vacant by men fighting overseas.

    1940s Literature 
  • The Big Sleep has a number of issues with values dissonance that mark it as a product of its time:
    • Marlowe and other characters express open disgust for homosexuals. They freely use homophobic slurs like "queen" and make jokes at their expense. After getting decked by a gay man, Marlowe asserts that it didn't hurt much because gay men "have no iron in their bones." All of this would be highly unusual in today's political climate.
    • Geiger's pornography business is an underground criminal enterprise, and Marlowe is thoroughly disgusted by it. Today, porn is freely available online and more mainstream than ever.
    • Marlowe's alcoholism, to an extent. There are several times in the novel where he takes a swig either while driving or about to start driving, and neither he nor anyone else thinks anything of it.
  • Isaac Asimov's short story "History" says that Adolf Hitler died on Madagascar. It is extremely unlikely such a thing could be written before World War II, and impossible that it would be written afterwards.

    1940s Music 
  • "Route 66" (made famous by Nat King Cole and Chuck Berry, among others): The title route became a lot less relevant when freeways became the next big thing in The '50s. U.S. Highway 66 was upgraded to freeway bypasses of many metropolitan areas, which were later assumed into the routes of the Interstate Highway System (mostly Interstates 40, 44, and 55). The number, by then assigned to a freeway routing that had almost no connection to the original Chicago-to-California route, was finally retired in 1985. However, many portions of the old routing are still present and contain signs or monuments honoring the route's legacy (parts of it are even signed with markers reading "Historic Route 66").
  • The song "Why Don't You Do Right" refers to the year 1922 as being "twenty years ago", mathematically placing the story in the early 1940s or so. The 1961 cover by Julie London updates the year to 1941. However, the usual approach for modern performances seems to be to embrace the period and dress up the singer as a 1940s siren.

    1940s Theatre 
  • One Touch of Venus has a few throwaway lines and walk-ons that betray the fact that it was written and produced during World War II (which figures not at all into the plot). Notably the film adaptation, made in 1948, removed these.

    1940s Western Animation 
  • Any Wartime Cartoon: As the shorts are all directly related to the then-ongoing war against the Axis.
  • Looney Tunes shorts tend to be full of the pop culture of the decade they were made, particularly those made in the 1930s and '40s. This could also be said of episodes of Tom and Jerry, Woody Woodpecker or any number of cartoon shorts.
    • Any short directed by Tex Avery is especially full of dated and forgotten Memetic Mutations of the day.
    • The Tom and Jerry short "The Zoot Cat" deserves special mention, not only for its 1940s Fashion Dissonance but because the slang and the dances featured in it place it firmly in the 1940s.
    • The 1948 Tex Avery short "Hollywood Steps Out" bears particular mention for featuring 46 then-contemporary celebrities at a ritzy nightclub party costing $50 a plate (roughly $830 today). What was intended to poke fun at the pop culture of the time has become something of a '40s time capsule.
  • The 1946 Disney short "All the Cats Join In", with its jazz soundtrack produced by Benny Goodman, features teens partying in a malt shop, doing swing dancing as a jukebox plays.
    • Also the Donald Duck cartoon "Wide Open Spaces" showed Donald refusing to pay the (at the time) expensive price of $16 to stay at a hotel. These days, it makes Donald look really cheap, which is actually almost funnier.


    1950s Film 
  • Hysterical Red Scare films like I Married a Communist! date to a very specific point in time when the Cold War was America's biggest concern, and communists were the biggest bogeyman. 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.
  • Guys and Dolls (1955), in which New Yorkers go to Havana for a dinner date, got dated soon after due to the Cuban Revolution.
  • Downplayed but still present with The Movie of West Side Story, which was made (very early) in The '60s but is presumably set in 1957, which is when the play debuted. Admittedly, the Jets look and talk like a product of their time, but the much grittier Sharks look like they could be from two or three decades into the future. The dialogue, however, was fairly authentic teenage slang from the '50s—which of course makes it sound incredibly dated to modern viewers.
    • Stephen Sondheim has been quoted as saying that Arthur Laurents created original slang ("Cracko, jacko!") specifically to avoid this trope. Clearly, he failed.
  • 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.
  • 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 on 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 in force, near-Victorian slums, a panic over juvenile delinquents who dress in sharp suits and fedoras, trolleybuses, and police cars with bells rather than sirens.

    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.
  • 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.

    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.
  • Many songs by Chuck Berry are simultaneously timeless yet also time capsules of the era, especially for automobile historians (see "Maybelline", "No Money Down", "Jaguar and Thunderbird", etc.).
  • 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 are named "Barney" anymore, 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" (78 RPM 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 
  • 1959's Merrie Melodies cartoon "The Mouse that Jack Built" 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?
  • 1955's One Froggy Evening revolves around a construction worker, trying to strike it rich by demonstrating the singing and dancing of Michigan J. Frog, being unable to prove said frog actually sings and dances because it refuses to do so in the presence of anyone else — a plot which only really works in a time period where cameras to simply record this routine are expensive, difficult to use, and require extensive setup. If the short were made even just a decade or so later, it would need to go out of its way to explain why the construction worker couldn't resolve the plot in two minutes by taking the frog home and recording it on a cheap and easy to use camera, to say nothing of the plot being resolved in twenty seconds with a smartphone if it took place in the modern day. Especially apparent when the final scene takes place in the far future, but ends up looking pretty dated not only by its very '50s vision of the future but also by ending on the implication that the cycle will repeat with a new victim, rather than an implication of him simply recording the routine and becoming rich. Tellingly, the 1995 sequel had to have all of the scenes where the frog got other people in trouble like this be actual period pieces (the Stone Age, Roman times, and The American Revolutionnote ) for the "curse" to keep working.


    1960s Comics 
  • Walter Melon was written in the '60s and finished in the '90s. The comic was mainly a gag-a-day 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 at one point because the original joke didn't translate well into Spanish) and a lot of neologisms that don't catch on with modern viewers.

    1960s Film 
  • The Apartment: The film is remarkably timeless for something made in the 1960s, but a few things show their age:
    • Miss Kubelik's occupation as an elevator operator was already pretty archaic in the 1960s, and has now become completely extinct.
    • 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, 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 legalised 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.
  • 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 recognisable as an early '60s piece from the fashion and vibrant colour 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 is 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.
  • Most of the plot of 1966 film Walk, Don't Run (actually a remake of 1943 movie The More the Merrier) turns on how shocking and scandalous it is for an unmarried woman to sub-let 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Fed/Kling politics, the civil-rights-era Aesops and Chekhov'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 multicoloured 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 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 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 a Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev's arrival 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 the 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 decimalised with "Thruppence and sixpence every day just to drive to my baby".
  • Elvis Presley song "Return to Sender" 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 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.
  • A lot of Frank Zappa's work 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.
  • "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 Packardnote , Opelnote , and Bellettnote  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 of 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 share to boomboxes, Walkmans and later on 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.
  • "New Math" by Tom Lehrer ran into it twice over. First, new math itself faced massive backlash and was soon abandoned, so many people these days will have no idea what he's talking about. Second, he just happened to pick the one aspect of it that actually stuck around, so it's now weird as hell to hear him laying out a completely normal subtraction problem with a tone of "Isn't this silly?".

    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!).
  • As noted in the page quote, 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 — that 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.
    • In 2018, a new "Rocky and Bullwinkle" series debuted on Amazon Prime.
    • 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 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.

    2010s Film 
  • 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 2011 slasher parody Detention, which is crammed with jokes about Torture Porn films, fad diets, contemporary pop and 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 a "Funny Aneurysm" Moment, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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, an example of the 2000s hanging over into the early 2010s. Among the (literal) targets of this pop culture satire are 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.
  • 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."
  • The New Zealand-made film The Holy Roller has sadly become this, thanks to the Canterbury earthquakes of 2010 and 2011.
  • 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.
  • 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 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, which updates the story of Jem to depict the protagonists' rise to fame as occurring chiefly through social media and YouTube. A common theme in many reviews was how "of the moment" the subject matter was in how it built itself 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.
  • 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).
  • Pitch Perfect, released in 2012, showcased the emergence of what could be termed as "pop feminism", from its theme of empowerment to the "anti-rape whistle" joke, while the antagonists are the stereotypical fratboys you could still find at the time.
  • 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 (see 1990s Film), 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. And in keeping with the series' Postmodernism, 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."
  • With all the tumult and controversy Facebook has found itself in during the latter half of The New '10s, the drama of The Social Network (2010) seems quite quaint. Screwing over a business partner ain’t got nothing on selling ads for an American presidential election to Russians in rubles or the United Nations accusing you of being complicit in the genocide of the Rohingya minority group in Myanmar. This quote in particular, regarding Mark's side purpose for creating the site (getting dates), is oddly prophetic as well considering the deconstruction of the Dogged Nice Guy trope (another thing we'd rather not comment on further):
    Erica: You are probably going to be a very successful computer person. But you're going to go through life thinking that girls don't like you because you're a nerd. And I want you to know, from the bottom of my heart, that that won't be true. It'll be because you're an asshole.
  • 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 featured flip phone product placement, the novel The Shack was referred to as a hot trend when it was already five years old by the time the movie came out, and the protagonist was a wealthy literary agent whose job would not exist in an e-book era. Many critics used the phrase "Unintentional Period Piece" in their reviews.
  • The 2012 film version of The Three Stooges attempts to be an updating of the famous comedy team, yet also dates itself severely by including the cast of Jersey Shore as themselves for much of the film. Jersey Shore would be cancelled later that year.
  • Zoolander 2, much like the aforementioned A Thousand Words, was criticized as this for the previous decade when it was released in 2016. Its merciless mocking of the fashion world seen as not only mean-spirited, 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.
  • Eighth Grade had the bad luck to pick Olivia Jade as the influencer its main character is a big fan of, when just a few months after its release she became one of the biggest public faces of Operation Varsity Blues in which a massive college admissions fraud was exposed, resulting in Jade and her sister dropping out of college before their inevitable expulsion, and her reputation and career being perhaps permanently destroyed.

    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 attempts 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 the protagonist 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.

    2010s Live Action TV 
  • 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 11th of 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 20th). 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.
    • By season 5, released in 2017, the presidential election in the middle of it firmly weds it to the real-life presidential election the previous year, with the fictional FBI director stating that the FBI "would never involve itself in a presidential election" while all but staring to the camera.
    • 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, 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. For better or for worse, that attitude quickly went out of fashion after Donald Trump's highly controversial presidency brought political polarization to new heights and led to a new wave of active political engagement on both sides of the aisle.
  • 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 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: Ilana gets upset when she has to remove her impractical Obama themed nails ("It's like they're leaving office all over again!") and realizes in a later episode that she hadn't been able to have an orgasm since Trump was elected. And Trump's 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 following the dramatic events of the 2016 presidential election: Leslie's idol Hillary Clinton was defeated in one of the biggest political upsets in American history, while the libertarians were (for the moment) eclipsed by the rise of Donald Trump's reactionary brand of conservative populism.
  • 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 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.

    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 Instagramnote , "Summertime Sadness", and referring to another girl as "ratchet". Todd in the Shadows, when placing the song on his list of the worst songs of 2014, used this as his justification, saying that, "There was nothing else as painfully 2014 in 2014".
  • "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.
  • "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.

    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 
  • 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) and a 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Kantai Collection 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 are still running (The Venture Bros., Squidbillies) or otherwise 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 have stopped producing new episodes, including:
      • "Sports" from Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, a show 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 a show that 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 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.

    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 impersonating 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).
  • Some Jerk with a Camera's "Sabrina Goes To Disney World" episode references specific ads that were commonly played 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.
    • Many other of his episodes parody common aspects of the video hosting site Blip, such as the loading screen, its frequent Disneyland ads, etc, all of which are since defunct now that Blip has shut down.
  • 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 conspiracy theories surrounding Barack Obama. Technically, however, everything in the article still has the potential to become reality; just with radically different context surrounding Trump.
  • The Arctic Lizard, an 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 date 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 do not take him seriously 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 was extremely popular for a brief period in 2016, but was forgotten after that) 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 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.

     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 (though whether it turned out for the best or not is another thing that we shouldn't discuss).
  • Futurama:
    • "I Dated A Robot" involves celebrities' personalities being downloaded onto blank robots through a company called (Kid)Nappster. This is dated to the early 2000s when the Napster media-sharing service was popular, but which has since been shut down. The writers acknowledge this on the DVD Commentary.
    • A few episodes of the Un-Cancelled run fall into this:
      • "The-Duh-Vinci-Code" makes a crack at Leonardo being unable to determine the mass of the Higgs Boson. At the time of its production (July 2010), researchers at the Large Hadron Collider famously furiously attempted to discover it. It was discovered in March 2013.
      • "That Darn Katz!" is made up largely of lolcat jokes at their peak of popularity. They are still reasonably popular now but have been slipping out of the mainstream.
      • "A Farewell to Arms" is a parody of the supposed end of the world in 2012, complete with a stone calendar supposedly predicting this, a belief that was extremely common and widely made fun of in the months leading up to December 2012 but which fell from cultural relevancy shortly thereafter.
      • "Decision 3012" falls into this since it's a satire on all the Barack Obama conspiracies.
  • 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.
  • South Park: "A Scause for Applause" ends with Jesus leading the townspeople in a "Free Pussy Riot" rally, which became this after the members of Pussy Riot were freed in 2013.


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