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Totally Radical / Live-Action TV

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  • Australian kids network ABC3 loves to pepper its promotions with slang like "lol" and "amazeballs" to the extent that they decided to brand Xmas 2013 "Cray Cray Christmas!" They literally cram 'youth slang' into everything they can think of, including their website.
  • Disney XD was the nutshell example of this trope in its first few years. Every boy in their advertising is shown skating or surface-medium-here-boarding "to the max", entire programs are filled with badly outdated lingo, and the network's announcer screams in every promo like he's selling the Bigfoot show on "Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!" at the Centrum, which ends with a program or a commercial for the channel's original programming receiving an odd Checkmark of Awesomeness punctuated by some form of "Yeah!" or "Yes!", even if it's a laughably and totally unradical film no one finds awesome like Arthur and the Invisibles or Brother Bear. Thankfully averted in later years.
  • ESPN 2 began as this, known as "The Deuce" with a graffiti-inspired logo, less formal presentation (anchors wearing leather jackets, etc.) and focus on youth-oriented sports, including extreme sports (the X Games were started by ESPN for a reason). It grew out of it and nowadays is indistinguishable from the normal ESPN. This was a major inspiration for ESPN-8, "The Ocho" from DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story, making it somewhat full circle when they began stunting as ESPN-8 each year beginning in 2019.
  • Brazilian channel Rede Globo has this in the ads for its afternoon movies, with a vocabulary that rarely changes - the word "hullabaloo" appears for almost every movie! An example would be along the lines of "This wicked gang will get into a lot of hullabaloo!" Speaking of Globo, they have a show called Na Moral (teen slang for "seriously"), a weekly show where guests debate current topics — most of them not entirely related to youngsters (such as abortion or separation of church and state), but they named the show as such in order to try to appeal to that demographic.
  • Played for laughs in 3rd Rock from the Sun. Tommy is Really 700 Years Old but is in the body of a teenager. When questioned about his unusual alien habits, he responds that "everything doesn't have to be about Pac-Man and The Bee Gees". His girlfriend gives him a very odd look.
  • 30 Rock:
    • In-Universe Liz Lemon's slang is sometimes treated as such, even though she makes up most of her own slang and what she uses is never particularly old—at least, not by this trope's standards. See the following exchange, from a 2010 episode.
      Randy: But first, I am going to give my cool cousin a makeover!
      Liz: Is it going to be "fierce"?
      Randy: It would if it were 2006!
    • Jenna Maroney has issues.
      Jenna: No more making fun of me when I misuse dated cultural references, okay? Are we cowabunga on this?
    • Then there's Lenny Wozniak's now-legendary attempt to pass himself off as a high school student (pictured above) as an In-Universe example.
  • Jacob from Abbott Elementary wants to be a Coolteacher so badly, but just comes off as the earnest, socially awkward dweeb he is, and all his attempts at using slang or relating to teen culture just makes his students pity him at best, or laugh at him at worst. (It's to the point where his nickname among his students is "Mr. C," standing for "Mr. Corny", albeit said with affection.) He actually exploits this trope in "Desking," when an In-Universe meme leads to students standing on their desks and jumping from surface to surface. Concerned that someone will inevitably get hurt, the teachers use varying methods (reason, threats of punishment, outright removing desks) to try to put a stop to it, but nothing works... until Jacob films a TikTok where he tries the trend himself. Instantly, desking is uncool, and the students knock it off.
  • Harper from Andromeda does this a lot. For example, when the Eureka Maru pulls the Andromeda free from the gravitational pull of a black hole that it had been trapped in for 300 years, Harper says, "I just wanna say this once: We rule." Apparently, he's their Surfer Dude thousands of years in the future.
  • Parodied in an Armstrong & Miller sketch. Have you ever asked yourself what it would be like if RAF pilots during World War II spoke like modern London teenagers?
  • In Black Mirror: San Junipero, the hip young women protagonists in the groovy seaside resort town that lends the episode its name say "Bodalicious!" with a straight face. Justified because San Junipero is in reality a Lotus-Eater Machine for the elderly and the dead of 20 Minutes into the Future to have nostalgic throwbacks from their youthful years.
  • In an Australian TV retrospective about The Brady Bunch, Eve Plumb remembers that the writers would try to put (then-current) early 70s slang like "groovy" and "far out" in the kids' dialogue, which always felt forced.
  • In-Universe. Saul on Breaking Bad calls one of Walt's suggestions "what the kids would call an epic fail". Then Saul doesn't exactly seem like the type of guy who's up to date on modern youth culture (or any culture for that matter). Otherwise this trope is averted with Walter Jr., who is helpfully played by an actual teen.
  • Brand-new invented slang was one of the keys to the success of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This has also helped prevent the show from becoming obviously (and painfully!) dated, as slang may change but the cadence and patterns mostly don't. The same can't be said for the show's abundant pop culture references, however.
  • The 1970s BBC sitcom Butterflies focuses (as BBC sitcoms tend to do) on the usual sort of well-off middle-class family living in a nice part of London. Doormat housewife Wendy Craig is taken for granted by her husband and two teenage sons—who in the 1970s talk, at best, in teenage slang that's only 10 years out of date. Even in the late 1970s when most kids were getting into punk rock, the two sons stood out horribly as Teenagers That Time Forgot, talking hippie argot that would have been horribly stale and dated in 1967. They even dressed out of date for the time, too.
  • In Community, Pierce is determined to make the phrase "streets ahead" (apparently just meaning "good") catch on. And it actually has among the fanbase. In another episode, some teenagers and one of their mothers use "pwn" with no irony.
  • The Daily Show: Larry Wilmore mocks Rush Limbaugh's impression of black kids beating up white kids on school buses because Obama was president (he imagined them shouting "Right on! Right on! Right on! Right on!"
    Larry: Yeah, right on! Right on! Dy-no-mite. Is this a bus from the '70s?
  • Dark Angel has its share of examples, but one seems deliberate: it is perfectly in character for hyper-square Normal to name his messenger service—wait for it—Jam Pony.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Jo Grant, who talks like the writers' vague idea of how groovy young people talked in the 1960s, despite it being the early 1970s. (Or, depending on your view of UNIT dating, the late 1970s.)
    • Rebellious urban teen sidekick Ace in 1980s Doctor Who. ("Gordon Bennett, what a toerag!") For once, not the fault of the writer, who based her original dialogue on actual teenagers he'd actually met, but of Media Watchdogs who decided that authenticity was no excuse for a TV youngster using that kind of language, thank you, and insisted it be Bowdlerised.
      • She also liked to say the word "ace" itself, which naturally leads to anyone not familiar with that slang term to think she's just saying her own name.
      • Russell T. Davies mocks this in his novel Damaged Goods. When the Doctor returns to a rough 1987 urban housing estate, he expects another teenage girl to talk and act like Ace. She puts him straight.
    • The otherwise enjoyable late 1980s story "The Greatest Show in the Galaxy" features (and opens with) a rapping circus ringmaster whose rap falls somewhere between hilarious, and "Oh God, my ears". Fortunately, he's balanced out by the Circus of Fear and Monster Clowns. Even the Doctor (briefly) gets in on the act.
    • Parodied in "School Reunion" with "Correctamundo!", which the Tenth Doctor immediately swears off.
    • Parodied again in "The Eleventh Hour": Having just saved the world in 20 minutes without a TARDIS or the sonic screwdriver, the Eleventh Doctor gleefully bellows out "Who da man?!"... and sounds utterly dweebish. Everyone stares at him in either scorn, pity or confusion, and he ends up sulkily declaring that he's never saying that again.
    • Played for Laughs again with the Twelfth Doctor's Character Development: Thanks in part to a brief stretch of time when he's having The Last Dance, he becomes less of a Grumpy Old Man in Series 9, revealing his electric guitar hobby and sonic sunglasses (because he's "all about wearable technology" now) and a more casual wardrobe than Series 8's smart suits. In the end, though, no matter how cool he tries to be, he tends to end up looking like a dork because he's still a millennia-old Time Lord who looks like a man in his 50s, has No Social Skills, and calls himself such nicknames as "Doctor Funkenstein".
      • In "Thin Ice" he says "You guys hang tight. Laters!" to a group of children in Regency London, and then points out to Bill how he's "down with the kids". Bill replies that even her hair's cringing.
    • The audio special Cuddlesome has the Mark II's saying "like, totally", complete with American "dude" accents, in practically every. single. sentence.
  • Witness any depiction of the 1960s youth culture in Dragnet 1967.
    "You're pretty high and far-out. What kind of trip are you on, son?"
  • Fantasy Island (2021): Ruby tries to speak "young and hip" with Helene, though she quickly fails (including mistakenly calling them Millenials when it's Gen Z). After Helene spots this, Ruby confesses that she's actually 75, not 25, though the island makes her look decades younger.
  • In the "Fast Enough" episode of The Flash (2014), prior to Dr. Stein and Ronnie becoming Firestorm:
    Dr. Stein: This will be, as the kids say, "legit".
    Ronnie: No kids say that.
  • Whenever Frasier or Niles try to be "cool", this is inevitably the result.
    Niles: Who was that babe-o-rama?
    Frasier: Niles, please don't try to be hip. You remind me of Bob Hope when he dresses up as the Fonz.
  • Freaks and Geeks deliberately averts this trope by being set in the early 1980s (when creators Judd Apatow and Paul Feig were in high school) rather than modern times. Thus, there's a considerable amount of early-'80s slang used on the show. Fortunately, it's used very conservatively by most of the show's characters (except, of course, for Mr. Rosso).
  • An episode of Friends has a particularly desperate Joey going after a role intended for a 19-year-old, so he first practices being convincing with Chandler. "Sup with the whack Play Station, sup?"
    Joey: So am I 19 or what?
    Chandler: Yes. On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the dumbest a person can possibly look, you are definitely a 19.
  • On Gap, a few of the lead characters use Totally Radical slang, such as "dude", "totally", and "awesome". However, the offhand and casual way the characters use it makes it seem more believable.
  • In an effort to make Vanessa at least a little likable to the viewers, the Gossip Girl writers gave her this gem of a line after a college party:
    Vanessa: Hey Dan. Want to get together and download about the epicness last night?
  • H₂O: Just Add Water has Kim saying "Unreal". In 2013. This is a word that inspired the title of a Paul Jennings book. Then again, at one point Kim says the following line describing a concert (that Cleo was supposed to accompany her to, but didn't because circumstances got in the way):
    "They played all their hits, and the crowd screamed and screamed!"
  • Spoofed in an episode of Hannah Montana; Miley goes to see a dentist, who greets her using a mish-mash of outdated slang. When Miley calls him out on this, the dentist says that he's just trying to be relatable, to which she quips, "To what, the 1970s?" The show also provides us with a use of pwned, pronounced with two syllables.
  • Played with in an episode of How I Met Your Mother: When Robin dates an older man, his Totally Radical speech patterns (part surfer, part stoner) make him seem even older. And the fact that the actor was in his 70s. Old Ted's voiceover indicates he was probably in his 40s, but that they all remember him as an old man.
  • The Inbetweeners is amazingly realistic in its portrayal of how British teenagers act and talk. This did get both series an 18 rating, though - presumably under-18s can't deal with hearing language they use every day.
  • Referenced in the Inside No. 9 episode "Bernie Clifton's Dressing Room". Former comedy double act Len and Tommy, who haven't performed together in thirty years, rehearse an old sketch about a teenage punk rocker. Tommy points out that no one will ever find it funny again since it was horribly dated even when they first performed it in the 1980s.
  • On Intimate, Bruno and Oskar are two actors in their early twenties who play a pair of drug dealers on a crime show for an older audience. They attempt to protest their wardrobe and overall appearance (skateboards, sideways baseball caps, etc.), but are shot down on the grounds that they only need look their viewers' idea of "cool".
    Crew Member: Honey, how many times do I have to say it? The show is meant for ages sixty and up, not your peer group.
  • Invoked and deconstructed on M*A*S*H. In the Season 10 episode "Give 'Em Hell, Hawkeye", Klinger hires a boy named Kim Han to help beautify the camp so they can get a hot-water heater. Kim Han speaks with a ridiculous level of 1950s slang, which initially annoys Margaret—until it is revealed that he only talks that way because he learned English from American movies, and it becomes something of a bonding moment between the two. Then we learn that slang isn't the only thing Kim Han learned from those American movies, and it falls to Margaret to set him straight.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus has the psychedelic Royal Navy ad that interrupts the Lake Pahoe expedition sketch:
    "The navy's out of sight! Come together with the RN! It really is something other than else!"
  • The Muppet Show: Perhaps it's forgivable since the series was a "family" show in the most literal sense and was attempting to appeal to older viewers as well as kids. But that doesn't change the fact that it sometimes had some pretty blatant — and desperate — '50s and '60s slang peppered throughout (although occasionally it was done ironically). One episode has the word "square" (as in "uncool") used not only twice, but in two separate skits!
  • A Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode The Beatniks is set in the 1950s. Ax-Crazy delinquent Moon makes the following threat, which was probably intended as a death threat, but was... phrased rather unfortunately.
    Moon: I'm gonna moon you.
    Hotel owner: What?
    Moon: MOOOOOOON YOU!!!
    Tom Servo: You know, hang my butt out.
  • Parodied in an episode of NewsRadio: Bill is hired to advertise a malt liquor during news breaks, and adopts a "ghetto voice" during his ads, much to the chagrin of Catherine, who's usually as amoral as Bill is but draws a line here. Catherine ends up giving Bill a stream of "street slang" that she says will make the commercial seem more hip, that just makes him sound ridiculous ("It's got that upstate prison flavor that'll make your feet stank all night long!"). Also parodied in their Bizarro IN SPACE! episode, where "Gazizzah", one of the made-up words, has become a common greeting.
  • Parodied in Not Going Out: Lee has found yet another dead-end job, so Kate asks him if he bothered to look at some career leaflets she got for him. He dismissively says that they're all aimed at kids, citing a slogan: "Do you want a career, innit?" Kate reads the leaflet; the slogan in question is actually "Do you want a career in IT?"
  • In The Office (US), Michael frequently receives lessons in "black people phrases", such as "Dink and Flicka" and "Bibbity boppity, gimme the zoppity", from warehouse worker Darryl, never quite catching on that Darryl's just screwing with him.
  • Only Murders in the Building
    • In-universe, Charles and Oliver are often baffled by the slang of younger generations and make awkward attempts to replicate it—Charles latches onto the word "rando" but combines it with an Eye Am Watching You gesture that doesn't make sense, while Oliver's pronunciation of the Ship Name Pormanteau is gleefully awkward.
    • A genuine example occurs in season 2 with Charles' sort-of stepdaughter Lucy, who is incredibly Gen Z. At one point, she asks Mabel if Charles and Oliver are "queer-coded". "Coding" is a term used in meta discussions about fiction and not real people who are in the room with you. Also, although it shows up a lot in fandom discussions among people her age, the concept of queer-coded characters long predates Gen Z and modern fandom culture.
  • The show Pizza is responsible for putting the phrase "fully sick" and "stooge" into the mouths of thousands of Australian kids. And Uncle Toby's, together with Thorpie, helped kill it. If you ever want to kill a slang term, put it in the mouth of a metrosexual swimmer in an advertisement for cereal.
  • Power Rangers
    • In Power Rangers Operation Overdrive, the episode "Just Like Me", when a fight breaks out between Tyzonn and Will, team leader Mack tells them to "Put your personal junk in your trunk." This... doesn't come off sounding right. Makes sense if you think about it, though, since the one saying that is a two-year-old Ridiculously Human Robot programmed by and having only interacted with a middle aged man. It's a miracle his lingo is as comprehensible as it is.
    • Other well known examples from the franchise include "Morphenomenal!" from Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, and Alpha 6 in Power Rangers Turbo, who replaces his predecessor's "Ay-yi-yi!" catchphrase with "Yo, yo, yo". He quickly reached The Scrappy status and in Power Rangers in Space, he is damaged and repaired with speech circuitry made for Alpha 5. The result is largely an Expy of 5, though he still has 6's spunk: can you imagine 5 piloting the Megazord himself while the Rangers are away?
    • Power Rangers Ninja Storm has this. Getting beaten up is getting "worked" and pretentious bad guys are "posers" and so forth. That season has its own language. Power Rangers: Dino Thunder continued it for the first two or three episodes, but eventually stopped and let it be Ninja Storm's "thing."
    • A Nicktoons advert for the series, listing the various features, includes "90's slang".
    • Early on in Power Rangers Dino Fury, Izzy uses multiple Gen Z slang terms like "vibing" or "OK boomer" in her dialogue. This was toned down later on when the writers realized it sounded awkward.
  • QI naturally does this throughout its 'Groovy' episode. Mostly it's either Stephen being incapable of uttering any kind of slang in any way that doesn't sound affected, or the panel mocking him for it.
  • Deliberate example, Jocelyne Letendre, the psychologist in Radio Enfer. She uses it to try to connect with the youth and fails badly at it, practically creating some sort of weird language that only she can understand (the youth lingo of the 1990s in Québec was mainly made up of Gratuitous English). However, she became an Ensemble Dark Horse mainly because of that lingo. Being rather over the top helped too.
  • Parodied in the first several seasons of The Red Green Show, with über-geek Harold trying to seem "cool" and "radical", but merely revealing himself as the dork he is. Red's own speeches to teenage viewers are ironically much more authentic, as he doesn't even bother trying to relate to them in the same way and just talks like an ordinary middle-aged guy.
  • Road Rules (the bastard cousin of The Real World) has a season simply titled Road Rules Xtreme (yes, with an initial X). This aired in the Aughties. And replaced the standard intro ("Throw out your old rules, these are the road rules") for a crappy metal song where the only lyrics were someone screeching "LIKE A MOTHERF**KER FROM HELL!" The show went on hiatus for a loooooong time after that.
  • Saba-dol: Having a middle-aged teacher pose as a teen Idol Singer inevitably leads to her referencing 70's pop culture from before she was supposed to be born.
  • Part of the premise of the "Miley Cyrus Show" sketch on Saturday Night Live is to parody her bubbly personality and use of hyperbolic, Totally Radical phrases (including the Catchphrase "It's prrrretty cool!").
  • Used by Sherlock in Sherlock. On Purpose. In Buckingham Palace.
    Sherlock: Laterz!
  • The Troperiffic Stargate SG-1 episode "200" mocks this rather thoroughly, when Marty speculates on casting younger and edgier versions of the team for the Wormhole X-treme movie, and SG-1 envision the potential results. It doesn't go well. The ridiculousness is compounded by the replacement of walkie-talkies with cell phones, which can communicate between a ship in space and an alien planet instantly. Better watch those roaming charges, unless SGC has a deal with Goa'uld Telecom.
  • In one episode of Star Trek: Voyager the ship accidentally travels back to Earth in the year 1996, and Tom Paris uses his knowledge of 20th-century America to help the crew navigate 1996 L.A. At one point Tom helps Tuvok take data from an astronomer's lab, but the astronomer catches them. As they try to get out of the situation, Tom at one point says, "This lab is...pretty groovy!" Tom has a lot more instances of this trope over that episode, though it does make sense. If you go back to the earlier episodes that show Tom displaying his interest in the 20th-century, it becomes apparent that he's much more interested in the earlier half of the 1900's than the latter half; though he's much more comfortable in 1996 than his fellow crewmates, he still isn't completely in his element. The abovementioned astronomer even lampshades it near the end, when she notes that everything he says sounds "just a little bit 'off'".
  • Stranger Things: A Running Gag in Season 2 from Dustin and Lucas: "Totally tubular!"
  • Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip has a non-grammar variant. It revolves around a late-night comedy sketch show which, like Saturday Night Live, is supposed to appeal to young people. The comedy sketches include references to Juliette Lewis, Pimp My Ride and a Gilbert & Sullivan parody sketch. The hosts and guests meanwhile include Rob Reiner, Sting, Felicity Huffman and Allison Janney. If that sounds like the painful efforts of a middle-aged man to appear in tune with modern youth, that's because it is.
  • Averted in Summer Heights High. Chris Lilley, the show's creator who also plays the three main characters, is unnervingly accurate as the teenage girl, Ja'mie. The show uses up-to-date slang and teenage mannerisms, as well as employing a realistic level of coarse language (which, amongst hormonal teenagers trying to sound cool, is a lot).
    Ja'mie: Oh my god, ties are so random. Like, what are they anyway, just pieces of fabric?
    • The infamously-bad 1990 revival of Tic-Tac-Dough had the Dragon and Dragonslayer in the Bonus Round begin to rap after a few weeks. And they were some of the whitest raps ever.
  • That Girl Lay Lay: Lay Lay is extremely Internet savvy and it shows in her dialogue with her frequent use of Generation Z slang, such as "yas", "drip", and "lit". This is a given, considering she's from a phone app.
  • The Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! episode "The Derrick and Jim Show" creates an intentional (and hilarious) nightmare of Clinton-era MTV clichés, Mundane Made Awesome moments and Xtreme Kool Letterz.
  • Little Cat Z from The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss, made obvious by the hipster quality he possesses. The Cat in the Hat's Season 1 voice (done by Bruce Lanoil) could also be considered this.
  • Motherfucking Tokyo Breakfast is one unpredictable nigga, nigga!! (An intentional example of this and a number of other tropes, of course, as it's part of a Canadian sketch comedy pilot that ultimately went nowhere.)
  • Two and a Half Men has an episode where Charlie invites his latest girlfriend (a near doppleganger for his own mother) and her two kids. Jake gives Charlie a series of advice on how to handle the kids: don't rub their heads, don't call them "little dudes", don't raise your hand and say "high five" and don't ask if they would like ice cream. When they arrive, cue Alan doing everything Jake had warned against, to the dismay of everyone around. Alan doesn't even notice and enthusiastically plows through the entire list.
  • The Season Two episode from Ugly Betty when Betty writes an article for "Hot Flash", only to have Claire edit the hell out of it to make it sound more "youthful". Betty herself is indignant, and to her chagrin every single person who talks to her about the article comments on it. ("...Natch?")
  • Under the Umbrella Tree has one of its main characters, Iggy the Iguana, suddenly become interested in rap the early 1990s. His favorite group is the Leapin' Lizardz, and their style is a wild, spastic one reminiscent of Run–D.M.C. and other groups from The '80s. A group in the style of Public Enemy would have been more appropriate, except for Under the Umbrella Tree being a kids' show.
  • Season 1, episode 4 of Veronica Mars is one big long Totally Radical marathon. Veronica and Wallace go undercover to end a credit card fraud scheme perpetrated by a pair of nerds called the "Silicon Mafia" developing a new game which will "make Quake look like Asteroids." Part of their scheme involves tricking the evil nerds into believing they've been invited to a demonstration of The Matrix Online, which no one cared about in the first place. Apparently, it has "rag-doll effects." And "the physics engine is killer." The list goes on. And on. Also features a painful case of Pac-Man Fever. Fortunately, aside from this episode, Totally Radical is mocked and averted pretty thoroughly throughout the series.
  • In the early 1990s, Wheel of Fortune tried out a "Slang" category for some of its puzzles. Most of the slang used was dated, obscure or just plain nonexistent (e.g., OFF THE BEAM, LET'S CUT OUT OF HERE).
  • The "Commercial Break" episode of WKRP in Cincinnati features a funeral home director wanting to advertise on rock and roll radio with spots designed to reach the untapped youth market. The recording of the jingle is accompanied by the cadaverous undertaker bopping to the tune like a hip kid. The staff seem into it, and they need the money, but Arthur eventually decides the ads are in bad taste.
    Hey! You're young and swingin'! No time to think about tomorrow
    But there ain't no way to deny it! Someday, you're gonna buy it!
  • X-Play had, during its sketch comedy-heavy days, a character named Johnny Xtreme as a parody of the "so macho he bleeds testosterone" game hero. He frequently engages in this kind of speech, as seen when he tries to come up with adjectives for his own video game:
    "...Like 'XTREME!' And 'TO THE MAX!' How about 'SUPERFLUOUS!'? And 'BALLS!'"
  • An episode of Zoey 101 has stereotypical computer geeks saying stuff like "LOL!" These are typed expressions, though they're occasionally said out loud, either by the savvy in a spirit of ironic playfulness, or by the clueless through a lack of understanding. Guess which category the writers fell into. Same thing goes for alternate spellings of certain words, such as "pwn". It seems that nowadays pronouncing the p is okay so long as the word still rhymes with "own".