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Values Dissonance / Western Animation

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"The cartoons you are about to see are products of their time. They may depict some of the ethnic and racial prejudices that were commonplace in American society. These depictions were wrong then and are wrong today. While the following does not represent the Warner Bros. view of today’s society, these cartoons are being presented as they were originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming that these prejudices never existed."
Title card on DVDs of old Looney Tunes cartoons.

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  • Not all animation is for kids however the idea is extremely popular. This concept didn't become prevalent until the mid-20th century. Most early cartoons were either made for adults or for general audiences. Not all Golden Age cartoons such as Felix the Cat, Looney Tunes, and Classic Disney Shorts were made for kids, however most are kid-friendly enough that they get treated as such. This makes shorts with sexual innuendo, use of tobacco, alcohol and other drugs, or other potentially mature material (especially suicide, with the infamous Tom and Jerry short "Blue Cat Blues" playing it for dramatic effect) stand out. They weren't made for kids but years of being depicted as so causes people to think of them as such.
  • The Four-Fingered Hands trope is this to Japan. Although it's not the only reason, this is because the Yakuza used to chop off their own fingers as punishment for failures that weren't enough to warrant death, which is why it's extremely rare for characters in anime to have less than five fingers (even Super-Deformed characters). This even goes to the extreme of editing the tapes to add a finger on when exporting Western animation for Japanese audiences.
  • Due to changing attitudes towards violence in media, what was acceptable for children in The '80s and The '90s (and even the early 2000s) gets very different treatment today. The TV ratings system did not exist then, so a show like ThunderCats (1985) generally would have been a TV-Y7 if it had. The show got bumped up to a TV-PG when it was rerun on Toonami. The 2011 reboot also got slapped with a TV-PG. Similarly, reruns of G.I. Joe and The Transformers on The Hub are now rated TV-PG. Meanwhile, Transformers Prime gets off with a TV-Y7, and has just as much violence as the shows rated TV-PG.
  • Animation programs from the 1980s and 1990s would face problems today if set in from a kind of school setting, especially bullying. While The Simpsons have continued to focus on this since the character stayed the same age, others that has came and went would faced this with social media being part of it, forcing laws to be passed. Speaking of a school setting, considering the school-to-prison debate... some of the characters would've been subject to it. Doug would be a good example of this considering Roger is a known Jerkass and deliquent and would've been serving time in juvenile hall for his actions these days instead of Bone making him just clean his trophy collection.
  • Any TV show or movie for families or kids that contains the words, "spaz", "spastic", or "moron" (which in America are fairly harmless—a little insulting, but not so bad that they can't be said) will be met with values dissonance (and a compulsory editing for a U or PG rating) in the UK, as those words are used to describe someone who has cerebral palsy, is epileptic, or overall mentally disabled.
  • Teletoon and YTV shows like 6teen and Total Drama often have different standards compared to American shows. Canada isn't afraid to show gay characters and/or couples,note  menstruation, and dirtier words to preteens while the States are bit more sensitive to these sort of topics, and thus edit those certain episodes or downright omit them from syndication. While the aforementioned examples are justified by the fact that they were more for teens and older tweens than younger kids, other more traditionally "kiddie" shows like Spliced and Rocket Monkeys may sometimes use words like "crap" or "suck", since they aren't considered to be as dirty in Canada. However, series that are tailored for more international audiences tend to reduce this to make global distribution easier.
  • The treatment of same gender couples in kid's cartoons, especially American ones, has had this occur. In the early 2010s with rising acceptance of LGBT people, cartoons began being more explicit about them, while cartoons not even six years prior went out of their way to hide characters between subtext. Many characters wouldn't even be revealed to be gay until Word of Gay (sometimes decades after the cartoon ended). To show this trope in action, the 2011 episode "What Was Missing?" from Adventure Time received a lot of publicity for heavily implying feelings between Princess Bubblegum and Marceline. One official online show was outright canceled because they implied it. Come 7 years later and shows like Steven Universe, Clarence, The Loud House, Gravity Falls, and even Adventure Time itself with Marceline and Bubblegum's Relationship Upgrade in the 2018 finale casually featured gay and bi characters. Values Dissonance still occurs depending on the country. For example, Steven Universe has been censored in the UK for some of its female/female Ship Tease.
  • Nudity of young characters in cartoons. In many European and Asian countries, like in the United Kingdom for example, it is treated in a nonchalant manner as long as it is innocent. In America and Canada, it is treated with much more controversy due to being seen as inherently sexual. Cartoons from the 1980s, like Alvin and the Chipmunks, and the 1990s (even the early 2000s), like The Powerpuff Girls and Dexter's Laboratory, got away with casual bathing scenes or Naked People Are Funny, and still do when shown in Europe and Asia. But from circa 2005 onward, such scenes in USA-produced cartoons have become much rarer, mostly as an excuse to be "edgy".
  • French cartoons like Code Lyoko and Miraculous Ladybug are more into fanservice than cartoons from a lot of other Western countries. While nowhere near Japanese levels, many French cartoons aren't shy about making a few risqué jokes or having rather skimpy attire.
  • The aversion of Family-Friendly Firearms is quite notable in kids cartoons made in Europe and other countries outside of the US. Which is ironic, considering how liberal America's gun laws are in contrast to Europe. European casualness with animated depictions of realistic firearms is likely a consequence of their relative exoticism, in Europe where very few citizens own guns, they are chiefly understood as a comic prop that no child would have any more access to than they would a Cartoon Bomb or sci-fi ray gun, whereas in the States, gun ownership is higher than any other wealthy country on Earth and playing with a firearm is not something you want television influencing your children to do with the revolver you keep upstairs.

  • The Golden Age of Animation has a lot of cartoons that have scenes that are nowadays considered racially offensive: black Africans with huge red lips putting people in cauldrons and being obsessed with tribal gods; Japanese soldiers being buck-toothed and squinty-eyed; black Americans being lazy and obsessed with dice games, chickens and watermelons; Native Americans wanting to kill all white people and speak in Tonto Talk; Arabs talking gibberish and wanting to plant daggers in unsuspecting people. It doesn't help that due to the nature of these types of cartoons being way too over the top that their features are often exaggerated, thus being very close to racist caricatures from propaganda material. Not to mention jokes where characters after an explosion suddenly have Blackface, even with their lips bloated to resemble a black person. Apart from that many scenes involve violence with guns, bombs and explosions that in adult eyes look far more disturbing than to a child. And of course there are scenes where children are spanked, characters freely smoke and drink, people resort to Suicide as Comedy, women shown as objects of lust to horny men (often depicted as wolves) and characters pray before they are about to fall or die.note 
    • Warner Bros. made a case of avoiding censorship in favor of historical accuracy when releasing the Looney Tunes Golden Collection. The material in first two volumes has not been altered, since most of those cartoons were the ones people remembered from their childhood that had very little offensive content (i.e., One Froggy Evening, the Rabbit Season/Duck Season cartoons, etc). Meanwhile, volumes 4-6 and the Looney Tunes Superstars collection have a title card warning viewers about the potentially unsuitable content due to the values shifts, quoted above.
    • The Disney Wartime Cartoon DVD collection has unskippable, un-fast-forwardable intros by Leonard Maltin, with the same message before each of "times were different then but we know better now." Thus the dissonance is acknowledged.
    • All Wartime Cartoon material: The Ducktators, Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips, Herr Meets Hare, Russian Rhapsody, Plane Daffy, Daffy the Commando and Tokio Jokio for instance, were made as propaganda vehicles and extremely general in their depictions of the Axis as enemies, especially towards the Japanese who are caricatured more as a race with all the stereotypes you can imagine: Asian Buck Teeth, Asian and Nerdy, Asian Speekee Engrish... Today this comes across as extremely racist. While many racist of wartime propaganda scenes have been cut from classic 1930s, 1940s and 1950s American cartoons in the U.S.A. they have been broadcast unaltered across the rest of the world.
    • For years Cartoon Network wouldn't show any Speedy Gonzales cartoons, fearing a backlash from Hispanic viewers over the airing of "negative Mexican stereotypes." The network later relented when they received petitions signed by thousands of Hispanic people who saw Speedy as a positive role model; an intelligent, athletic hero who always comes to the rescue of his fellow Mexican mice, always gets the best of the "gringonote  cat" and always gets the girl. There were other stereotypical Mexican mice in the cartoon, mind — but of all the Mexican stereotype cartoons, there were none more heroic than Speedy.
    • The Pepé Le Pew cartoons — all 17 of them (15, if you discount "Odor Of The Day"note  and the cameo appearance at the end of "Dog Pounded") teach kids that masculine persistence in the face of manifest resistance, even outright revulsion, on the part of the female target, is a virtue worthy of reward note . Doesn't help that Pepe's cartoons generally make clear that it's his smell and his enthusiasm that makes him repellant to women — and it really doesn't help that there are three Pepe shorts (1949's "For Scent-imental Reasons" — which won an Oscar, 1952's "Little Beau Pepe," and 1959's "Really Scent") that show that he freaks when his female target goes after him.
    • Bear in mind, some of the animation features also contains acts of violence, not to mention usage of weapons, like firearms, that wouldn't go well in much of present day animation if it's the actual ones in the real world.
      • For example, in "Mexican Shmoes", when learning about Slowpoke Rodriguez, Jose, the brown cat, goes after him, but Manuel, the red cat, tries to warn Jose that Rodriguez has a gun.
      • As Cracked points out, Suicide as Comedy would get a LOT of backlash these days.
    • The infamous Censored Eleven are more or less the poster boys of this trope. One of which, "Sunday Go to Meetin' Time", involves a black man straight from a Minstrel Show who skips church to steal a chicken. In All This and Rabbit Stew Bugs outwits an Afro-American hunter, and the entirety of Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs dwells on stereotypical Afro-American representations. Amazingly, these 11 cartoons are actually getting a remastered and completely uncut DVD release, perhaps because they are seen as legendary cartoons in spite of their heavily racial undertones.
    • The 1961 cartoon "Nelly's Folly". In it, a female giraffe with a talent for singing is discovered and becomes a big star. Her career crashes and burns, however, once the tabloid media reveals she's been having an affair with a handsome male giraffe who goes back to his wife calling Nelly a "has been" once she's lost her popularity. To further twist the knife, it's hinted that the affair was his idea, with a lonely Nelly hesitant at first. Given that affairs and sex scandals are almost expected from celebrities nowadays, it's hard to understand how such a seemingly benign incident would completely dismantle a career.
    • The Foghorn Leghorn cartoons with Miss Prissy: Given that female singlehood is now not only culturally accepted but in some ways encouraged nowadays the idea Foghorn would be seen as heroic for attempting to marry off an elder single woman just to "save" her is increasingly misogynistic to modern eyes. Miss Prissy's constant harassment from her peers for not finding a man would also be considered much more harshly today, bordering on abuse.
  • King of the Hill has an in-universe example. In "Keeping Up with Our Joneses," Hank makes Bobby smoke an entire carton of cigarettes when he catches him smoking one, which was sadly common in the time when Hank grew up. When this leads to him, Bobby and Peggy getting addicted, they go to a support group and after Hank admits to giving Bobby the cigarettes, the group calls him a monster and kicks him out.
  • After two generations of increasingly extreme paranoia over the sexual exploitation of children, the song "If You Sit On My Lap Today" from the classic 1970 Christmas Special Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town can sound positively creepy. It's actually not unheard of for the idea of aspects of the Santa Claus myth coming across unfortunately to be played for comedy, for example: The song Things are Looking Bad for Santa by The Arrogant Worms.
  • Speaking of old cartoons coming off as having pedophilic undertones due to paranoia over children being abducted and/or molested, the public service announcements from the 1985 version of G.I. Joe (the ones that Fensler Films redubbed) have become hard to look at through the Nostalgia Filter these days because all people (or rather, YouTube commenters) keep asking about is, "How do these GI Joes know where the children are all the time?", "Where are the kids' parents in all of this?", "Why is this GI Joe standing outside a bathroom window/running through the house without knocking/etc," and, in a specific example, "What is Deep Six doing underwater spying on little boys in a lake?" The original PSAs are on the G.I. Joe animated movie DVD as a special feature. Watch them and judge for yourself.
  • Where does a European viewer begin with The Simpsons:
    • In "Lost Our Lisa", Homer being called a bad parent because he gave permission for Lisa to use public transportation on her own, at aged eight. In parts of the Old World, this would simply be a commonplace event, but elsewhere...
      Helen Lovejoy: "Will someone please think of the children?"
    • In "$pringfield": Was Homer teaching Maggie to gamble supposed to come as a shock? If so it'd be lost on a British audience. British gambling laws allow minors to gamble, albeit on arcade games that dispense tokens and/or tickets to the winners, kind of like what America has with Chuck E. Cheese and Dave & Busters note .
      • Unless it's by the seaside, in which case gambling with real money (albeit small stakes) is not only legal in the UK and parts of Europe but is a normal part of growing up, teaching kids the valuable lesson of "Don't bet what you can't lose."
    • Due to the sheer length of The Simpsons, cultural mores have changed over time and the show has changed with it, so many older episodes now display slightly outdated viewpoints. For instance, in "New Kid on the Block", Marge is visibly uncomfortable around her new neighbor, a divorced single mother, an attitude which was almost quaint when it was first aired, but now makes Marge look fanatically conservative.
    • In the 2000s, The Simpsons were dubbed in Arabic, but significant changes were made. Since drinking alcohol is forbidden in Islamic countries, most references to liquor were cut or changed to non-alcoholic beverages (Homer's precious Duff Beer was changed to Duff Soda) and references to pork chops and hot dogs (which aren't considered halalnote ) were changed to Egyptian beef sausages. Arabic fans of the show weren't impressed though with the "edited to conform to Islamic law" version, as they were used to seeing the series uncut with Arabic subtitles.
    • The season four episode "Homer the Heretic" (where Homer abandons organized religion for his own system of beliefs) will meet with Values Dissonance these days for many atheists, agnostics, or lapsed religious people as the ending implies that people who abandon organized religion will be punished for it (Homer being saved from the house fire by Flanders [a Christian], Krusty the Clown [a Jew], and Apu [a Hindu]). It helps that Homer is put in danger not by God, but by his own arrogant hedonism (smoking a cigar while taking a nap). What's odd is that, outside of that ending, the episode actually has Values Resonance these days for the same people who think the ending is outdated for modern times.
      • The Simpsons has zillions of jokes poking fun at religion. "Homer the Heretic" is full of them as well, so most atheists/agnostics don't mind about that episode at all. It helps that this story isn't anviliciously one-sided like Family Guy's infamous "Not All Dogs Go to Heaven".
    • Bart's rebellious attitude, on top of many episodes being from his perspective and that he gets away with most of the abuse he gives to his superiors, clashes strongly with the Japanese ideals of obedience, respect for one's elders, emotional stoicness, and the drive to work hard. Complaints about Bart from Japanese viewers prompted the localization team to downplay him for the second season and onwards. Compare this to his incredible popularity domestically, to where commercials for "Lisa's Substitute" discussed only the B-story revolving around Bart.
    • Apu has caught flack from contemporary viewers for being an Ethnic Scrappy whose entire character is deeply rooted in Indian stereotypes (especially the "dishonest shopkeeper" part). One major point of contention is that he's voiced by a white man doing a broad, exaggerated Indian accent, and while the show is known for having a cast full of stereotypes, these stereotypes mostly come from different parts of European and/or white American culture (like Scotland, Italy, the Deep South etc.) or make fun of archetypes such as the rich white businessman (in this case, Mr. Burns). The problem is that, with a mostly white cast, and very few minority characters, it can feel to some viewers like the show is punching down when mocking Apu, and by extension Indian Americans as a whole. His stereotypical nature is highlighted in "Team Homer" where his bowling team loses to another one called "The Stereotypes", made up of Cletus, Luigi, The Sea Captain, and Groundskeeper Willie.
      Apu: They begged me to join their team! They just begged me!
    • In "Thirty Minutes over Tokyo", Homer and Marge get robbed at an internet cafe, so they attend a seminar about extreme money saving. One example that host Chuck Garabedian gives is a yacht with beautiful women, saying the yacht was cheap because “it smells like cat pee. And those beautiful women? They used to be men.”, which squicks out the audience. Today, the latter comes off as horribly transphobic.
    • An in-universe example happens in "The Lastest Gun in the West", where Buck McCoy shows the family his old work. In the 1950s he had a daytime show sponsored by a liquor company. The gang is shocked, while Buck says the show was aimed at children who drank.
    • Another in-universe example: When Krusty ran for officenote , his opponent attacked him showing one of his sketches about the U.N., portraying obviously offensive characterizations of France, Jamaica and San Francisco. Krusty justified himself by mentioning it was a different time... 1998note , even though it would have been extremely offensive by then.
    • In "Team Homer", Springfield Elementary institutes school uniforms, which are shown to be soul-crushing and reduce the kids to listless and depressed zombies in a matter of days. Since outside North America almost all schools use uniforms (except for a handful of private schools in some countries), international audiences found this puzzling and humorous.
    • One in-universe example occurred in a 2010s-era episode where Marge gets arrested for letting Bart go to the park alone. She mentions that her parents let her stay outside all day back in the 60s, and in fact Bart and Lisa (even Maggie) have been featured roaming on their own in the 90s and 2000s (most notably in "Bart Gets Famous"note , "Lost Our Lisa"note  and "Midnight Towboy"note ). However, in the 2010s allowing young children alone is more looked down upon (especially in suburban and urban areas) due to fears that they will be kidnapped, injured, get lost, etc.
    • In "Summer of 4 Ft. 2" a depressed Lisa's sighs that her only friends are writers like Gore Vidal, "and even he's kissed more boys than I ever will." Marge quickly corrects her that boys kiss girls. When the episode first aired in 1996 it was common to portray a character uncomfortable with mentioning homosexuality as just slightly behind the times or clueless (or both—part of the joke is that Marge has no idea who Vidal is.) To a modern viewer it is quite startling to hear such a homophobic comment from as likeable a character as Marge at all, still less to have it go unchallenged.
    • An unusual example of this trope's relation to The Simpsons is that it's directly responsible for Bart's Menace Decay. In the 90s, Bart was a legitimately nasty kid a lot of the time, with things like repeated vandalization (spray-painting "El Barto" everywhere), truancy, pranks, and so forth, even if he did have some moral limits (like his shame after having stolen a videogame or running away from home after burning Lisa's Thanksgiving centerpiece). However, as the 90s rolled on, Black Comedy and Dead Baby Comedy animated shows became increasingly mainstream. Thus, even with later seasons trying to use flanderization to keep Bart "menacing", to kids that are regularly watching shows like South Park (where the kids swear all the time and get involved in lots of violent or sexual situations) and Family Guy (where drug use, sex, gore and murder are routinely played for laughs), Bart seems laughably tame. This is perfectly lampshaded in the Simpsons/Family Guy crossover episode, where Bart finds Stewie's behavior horrifying and far too hardcore for him to handle. Amusingly, Matt Groening created Bart partly as a parody about how the titular Dennis the Menace (US) didn't seem so troublesome to modern audiences.
  • In a similar example from "Team Homer", in the The Kids From Room 402 episode "For Whom the Bell Tolls," the school starts demanding its students to wear uniforms (after some girls start going to school with "rebellious" jewels and accessories). They treat that as a sort of apocalypse. When it aired in Brazil, kids were left scratching their heads because of their reaction — because there are very, very few schools in the country that don't demand the use of uniforms (especially public schools). In Latin America, schools that don't demand uniforms are generally expensive American-Style private schools.
  • At least four episodes of Disney's Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers had jokes which played off Chinese stereotypes. One of these that is remembered in a particularly poor light was a subplot in the series' pilot, involving series Big Bad Fat Cat seeking aid from a rival feline mob. Said mob was run by a pair of Siamese cats, out of a dry-cleaning shop in Chinatown in which crowds of cats bet on cockfighting fish, everyone dressed in stereotypical silk clothes right out of Yellow Peril media, and involved a lot of Asian Speekee Engrish. This was the late 80s and early 90s, pretty much the last time you could actually get away with this.
  • TaleSpin had two episodes like the above as well, one with Chinese pandas that used fireworks as weapons ("Last Horizons") and another that involved a bomb on a plane plot ("Flying Dupes").
  • Jonny Quest:
    • The depiction of non-European characters in the original series was fairly common in style for its time, but now is embarrassingly colonialist in tone. By contrast, there is real diversity in the depiction of Indians, not just with Hadji, but with his guardian the Pasha Peddler, who may be a rather militaristic mercenary trader, but also gives lifesavingly good value for the money. To see how things have changed, look at some of the edits that were made for the DVD release. A line was removed from "Curse of Anubis" relating to the Egyptians as camel-worshippers. Removed lines by Race Bannon referring to the Po-Ho as "savages" and "heathen monkeys" in "Pursuit of the Po-Ho." The removal of Jonny's comment: "Here comes the Oriental Express" in "Monster in the Monastery." All of these were lines were cut due to modern sensibilities, but they would have been deemed perfectly fine for family viewing during the original broadcast.
    • In-Universe example: The Po-Ho do a ritual that one scientist regards as barbaric, and Dr. Quest comments that it is, but by their standards, not the Po-Ho's.
  • Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! has a rather embarrassing example of this in the episode "Mystery Mask Mix-Up," where Scooby and Shaggy dress in Chinese garb and both don bad Chinese accents (real bad). This scene ends with Shaggy randomly gaining squinty eyes and buck teeth.
  • Schoolhouse Rock devotes two segments to Manifest Destiny and cultural assimilation, both of which are rather more controversial and/or out of favor than they were in 1976. By contrast they had a later segment ("Mr. Morton," which teaches viewers about how to find subject nouns and predicates in sentences) in which the Twist Ending was that the woman proposed to the man, and that there was nothing wrong with it at all.
  • Occurs in-universe in Young Justice: in the beginning of the episode "Image" Black Canary is shown a video of herself kissing Superboy, to her astonishment. The woman in the video is actually Miss Martian, playing a game common on Mars (where everyone can shapeshift and read minds). The real Black Canary is not pleased.
  • The Beatles Band Toon has never been released on video or DVD, likely because of Values Dissonance; the show abounded with humor based on stereotypes. Most were of a more nationality-based (i.e., foreign Caucasian) nature, but a few racial ones did slip in here and there. Treated particularly harshly were the Japanese (which is ironic because John Lennon would later go on to marry a Japanese-American woman); some episodes were done in Australia, and the animators there clearly still had strong memories of what Japan did to the country in World War II.
  • The usage of drugs has also changed when it comes to animation in general just like the other genres, which is a factor in the ratings system.
    • Tiny Toon Adventures had an episode where Plucky, Buster, and Hampton appear to drink an alcoholic beverage called "Just One Beer" (which was also the name of the episode). Even though it was supposed to send a message about the dangers of abusing alcoholic beverages, it would have a hard time getting broadcast these days. In fact, it was even banned by the early 1990s when it was done.note 
      • Rhubella Rat is often seen smoking a cigarette, which is tobacco based... someone is bound to complain if would it air in the present day.
      • That segment was done better than "Just One Beer" and showed the dangers of smoking. Many shows in the early 1990s had anti-smoking messages and got positive feedback.
      • The Pink Panther smokes cigarettes in an elegant holder.
    • The Heckle and Jeckle short "Pill Peddlers" where the title speaks for itself, had the talking magpies trespassing at a gym in an attempt to sell their miracle muscle pills. Today, we would call those pills steroids.
    • However, during the 1980s, there were many cartoon shows like G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero that had many well-known villains like Cobra Commander setting standards that includes drugs being outlawed... yes, Cobra Commander doesn’t do drugs and he’s a terrorist. Yet, this was during the “Just Say No!” campaign, which in recent years should look into being updated, thanks to the rise of designer drugs.
    • Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue is a crossover special that features then-popular (and still popular) characters from Winnie-the-Pooh, Duck Tales, Looney Tunes, Garfield, and other properties. However, it's heavy-handed anti-drug message makes it hard to show to modern audiences. It's very late 1980s and early 1990s in its presentation and themes. That type of Scare 'em Straight anti-drug PSA stopped being used in the 2010s because they are shown to be less effective than other methods. The fact that it's over marijuana also counts, as over time the drug has lost much of its stigma amongst Americans compared to harder drugs.
  • Underdog got his superpowers from taking pills. This probably wouldn't go over well in any kids' cartoon today.
  • There was an episode of Peppa Pig about spiders that was banned in Australia. The moral of the episode was that spiders aren't to be feared. While an Aesop like that works well in the show's native UK (where all native species are virtually harmless) and in America (where, outside of a few types like the brown recluse and the black widow, spiders are mostly harmless and even beneficial), it doesn't at all in Australia, as that continent is home to the deadliest spiders in the world, with spider bites that can kill or severely injure people. Having an Aesop like that is the equivalent of teaching kids to cuddle Bengal tigers or rabid animals because they're "harmless."
  • In the original 1980s The Transformers cartoon, there exists the fictional Arab nation of "Carbombya". While it was considered offensive back then (it was the reason why Casey Kasem — who has Middle-Eastern heritage — quit doing voicework on the show), it's actually nothing compared to today, where something like that would be rejected on sight if written for kids' TV.
    • The names of several Transformers had to be changed in recent years due to their names being derogatory slurs in countries outside North America, most notably the Dinobot Slag (which is a British slur towards women) who is now more commonly called "Slug". It's the same reason you no longer see Cybertronians use "Slag!" as an expletive (see Beast Wars) with more recent series preferring "Scrap!" instead.
    • At the end of the original series episode "B.O.T." (already considered one of the worst in the series), two male students duct-tape an annoying nerd girl's mouth shut and drag her off... somewhere... At the time this was probably intended to be seen as a moment of light-hearted comic relief to cap off the story and not the precursor to rape it overwhelmingly comes across as by today's standards (The Autobots don't even do anything to help).
  • Betty Boop:
    • While never really made for children in the first place, many of the old pre-Hays Code cartoons have a lot of sexually suggestive scenes with Betty's dress or bra accidentally falling down - without showing anything naked - or males lusting after her. Nowadays most people wouldn't feel comfortable showing this to young children, especially not young girls.
    • It's implied in some shorts that Betty is still a teenager, maybe as young as sixteen. While this could have flown in the 1930s, in modern day a teenage character being a sex symbol just wouldn't fly at all in most countries. It helps that modern day material portray her as being in her 20s and that her age is vague even in the original shorts.
  • Parodied in one episode of Drawn Together. Foxxy Love gets a brain tumor that causes her to become a negative, outdated black American stereotype who was obsessed with "rolling dem bones"note , became a Mammy for the rest of the house, and spoke in an even more exaggerted jive then she did before. The FCC then comes to bring her to an erasement camp run by Mickey Mouse along with other politically incorrect cartoons, even when Spanky explains an Aesop about how even though we may not be proud of our previously portrayals of minorities characters, we shouldn't try to deny that they're part of history.
  • The SpongeBob SquarePants episode "SpongeBob, You're Fired!" shows Mr. Krabs charging customers to use the Krusty Krab restrooms. While this was intended to show Krabs as being a cheapskate who values profit over comfort, pay toilets are still quite common in Europe.
  • The Flintstones:
    • One episode featured Wilma and Betty taking self-defense classes from a judo instructor. Considering the time period when the short came out, their instructor looks and sounds exactly as you would expect, making a good amount of the episode uncomfortable for modern viewers to watch. A Pixie And Dixie short also had a similar premise and a similar judo instructor.
    • Then there's the fact that the original sponsor of The Flintstones was Winston cigarettes, with plenty of ads revolving around the gang lighting up. Even though it was aimed at adults, being the first animated series that ran in prime time, that wouldn't fly today, as not even a regular prime time show could get away with a cigarette sponsorship.
  • The Russian series Nu, Pogodi! had one short showing a group of African rabbits complete with big lips and brown fur. They are seen capturing the wolf and dressed in tribe uniform.
  • Jem:
    • Word of God is that Jetta was meant to be black. However the executives forced the creator to make her into a white British woman due to worries that having a black antagonist would be offensive. In modern times that seems silly and extreme, and the comic reboot has Jetta as a black British woman. Taking this further, the show itself later featured a black antagonist as well.
    • The characters frequently tour around different countries, but the locals are often portrayed in rather stereotypical ways. This flew fine in the 1980s, but in the 21st century they would be written differently so as to depict a more appropriate version of these denizens.
    • As with the GI Joe PSAs, the Jem PSAs have caused odd glances with modern audiences. Jerrica takes care of foster children at least, but people still comment on why she randomly pops up where kids are.
  • The 1980s Alvin and the Chipmunks cartoons, and to a lesser degree the 1990s direct-to-video features, had the Chipettes dress in risqué clothes despite being children (certain episodes imply they're as young as 8): Belly Dancer clothing, short shirts, Burlesque dresses, etc. That wouldn't fly with audiences anymore even if they were only intended to be fashionable or cute, and they're dressed up more in Alvinnn And The Chipmunks. There's also some scenes of them taking a bath in a Cinderella parody episode that wouldn't exist in 21st century cartoons. The films got away with nude Chipettes because they're chipmunk sized and look like chipmunks. In the 1980s cartoon they looked like girls with chipmunk noses because their fur was skin toned and they were human sized.
  • The black-and-white incarnation of Mickey Mouse engages in some behavior that modern audiences would find questionable. In Steamboat Willie he inflicts violence on a bunch of animals as part of a gag and in Plane Crazy he subjects Minnie to what would be considered sexual assault today.
  • Even My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic isn't safe:
    • The Season 1 episode "Over a Barrel" created controversy for its stereotyping of frontiersmen and Native Americans. There's a reason buffalo have rarely been seen in the series since this episode.
    • A major theme throughout the series is female characters who, despite having close friends, are still independent and will speak out if other characters oppose them. The idea is to encourage independence and assertiveness in the girls watching, but Japanese guys watching the show largely interpret it as being about a lot of "pushy girls," especially as, aside from Shining Armor (who is laughably bad at it), there are no "protector" type male characters in the series that they would normally expect to find.
  • Even the 1980s series of The Little Rascals has some examples:
    • Many shorts have the Rascals as Free-Range Children, traveling without adult supervision.
    • In "Rascals' Revenge", Alfalfa lets Darla precede him out of the shed by saying, "Ladies first." She thanks him with a kiss. Both are likely to be considered sexist stereotypes now.
    • "Cap'n Spanky's Showboat" is infamous for Darla and Buckwheat cleaning the steamboat's deck while barefoot.
    • In the 30-second short "Out on a Limb", Alfalfa pushes Spanky in a swing. That could be considered homoerotic today.
    • Two shorts involve cross-dressing. In "Just Desserts", Alfalfa is Dragged into Drag to replace the ailing Darla in the baking contest, and in "Fright Night", Darla dresses in imitation of Alfalfa.
  • Johnny Bravo has seen something of a backlash in The New '10s, due to its premise of playing the misadventures of a girl-crazy egomaniac for laughs, with more awareness of sexual harassment and problems caused by entitled Casanova Wannabe men. Although, to be fair, Johnny's "playboy" character is not played straight and is mostly an unlucky loser who constantly gets humiliated for trying to seduce women who aren't interested in him.
    • There was also an episode where a kid calls Johnny a spaz. In later airings this is badly dubbed over (the kid suddenly has a very different voice and accent) to say stupid instead of spaz.
  • The Powerpuff Girls:
    • It's hard not to see Him's effeminate personality and scare tactics as playing at least a little into Gay Panic. Of course, he's terrifying for plenty of other reasons.
    • Lil' Arturo showing off a switchblade-style comb to the Powerpuff Girls' school. These days, it would more or less be justified for the girls to take him down for bringing at first glance what appears to be a weapon to class.
    • The series' violence level has been hit with this. It was rather bloody for its rating even when it came out, but ratings have gotten stricter over the years. The 2016 reboot goes for the same TV-Y7 rating as the original but it had to censor the fighting. The original show would have likely been rated TV-PG in the 2010s.
    • Ms. Bellum was Put On The Bus in the 2016 reboot with this as its reasoning. The sexual elements of her character was not considered suitable for modern standards, so she was put on a permanent "vacation".
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy, mainly in regards to the Kanker Sisters, whose persistent harassment of the Eds was always played for comedy. Looking back however, in light of the #MeToo movement and several prominent male actors coming forward as victims of sexual harassment, this aspect becomes a lot less funny.
  • Rocko's Modern Life: Many of the more scurrilous jokes as well as a handful of episodes (including "Leap Frogs" and the episodes set in Hell) would not be considered as family-friendly these days. Mind you, the show was renowned for Getting Crap Past the Radar even in its day.
  • Four Top Cat episodes were omitted from the BBC rotation because of their subject matter, not being broadcast in the UK until the 1990s. Among these was "Choo-Choo Goes Ga-Ga", which centers on Choo-Choo attempting to kill himself (and failing miserably) because a movie starlet wouldn't date him.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door has a few moments that were perfectly acceptable in the early-mid 2000s, but would would not fit with modern sensitivities.
    • Margie/Madam Margaret from "Operation: F.U.T.U.R.E." is a textbook example of a Straw Feminist who Does Not Like Men. Add to that the fact that in this episode, all boys are portrayed as rough, tough, and delighting in gross things while all girls (with one exception) are portrayed as overemotional, incredibly feminine airheads... yeah. It's safe to say this episode didn't age well.
    • Though for the most part the show portrayed kids from all countries in positive ways (which was still somewhat of a rarity back then), the episode "Operation: H.O.L.I.D.A.Y." was full of stereotypical Jamaican characters. Every single child in the Jamaican sector is suspiciously happy all the time, none of them is too bright, and they all have a bizarre Verbal Tic of adding "mon" to every sentence.
    • At the end of "Operation: C.A.R.A.M.E.L.", a character who'd been known to the audience as male turned out to be a girl under a curse. Numbuh 5 helps her get back to her old self, and is genuinely supportive of her. The rest of the team... not so much. Their disgusted reactions were Played for Laughs in the episode, but may seem transphobic in this day and age.
  • Whilst it was somewhat prone to being a case of what the director wanted the short to be, many older Donald Duck cartoons can look much worse now than they were intended to when they were originally animated, especially when he has cause to punish his nephews for misbehaving. A classic example is one episode in which the nephews secretly buy Donald a box of cigars for his birthday, but because of several reasonsnote , he thought they'd bought the cigars for himself. So he forced them to chain-smoke the entire box himself before he found the birthday card. His punishment for this in the short is to be so mortified that he shrinks down to the size of a bug in humiliation and run away. In modern cartoons, this whole plot would be absolutely unthinkable.
    • It bears mentioning that Donald's Disney Ducks Comic Universe is far worse off, since so many of his classic comics revolve around him beating the nephews with a stick for misdeeds, either rightly or wrongfully.
  • Before the PBS adaptation, Curious George had a series of animated shorts that were rewritten as picture books. "Curious George at the Laundromat" has George flooding the laundromat by using too much suds to wash a load of clothes. In a rare display of anger, The Man In The Yellow Hat tells George that he deserves to be spanked. That would come across as flat-out animal abuse today in an era where spanking was already a controversial form of discipline, even in 1980. When the episode was adapted into a book, The Man In The Yellow Hat instead says, "There you are, George. You've caused a lot of trouble. I'm taking you home."
  • The Arthur episode "Arthur's Big Hit" ends with Arthur getting punched by Binky note  which is treated as Laser-Guided Karma (his father even outright saying so) after he punched D.W. earlier in the episode. Nowadays, if the reaction of fans is anything to go by, Arthur's parents would be seen as condescending and uncaring for responding this way to his pain, not to mention the episode has been denounced for its Broken Aesop.
  • The Fairly OddParents episode "Love Struck" features Timmy Turner wishing for boys and girls to live in separate halves of the world which has disastrous consequences for Cupid and his forces. To further specify, the episode only depicts straight couples and claims that boys and girls only prefer things stereotypical for their gender. On top of that, the female half of the world is an idyllic paradise complete with shopping malls and such while the male half is disgustingly unkempt. An episode like this would receive major backlash were it made today, when gender identity issues and the LGBT community have become much more prominent (the episode aired in the early 2000's).
  • Pingu:
    • Many episodes of the series show Pingu walking around the Antarctic without parental supervision (usually with friends or to run errands). The original series was made in the German-speaking region of Switzerland during the late 80's up to the late 90's and some European countries allow children to roam freely (usually to learn independence) unlike in America, where paranoia regarding child safety is commonplace.
    • The conflict of the episode "Pingu Quarrels with His Mum" is kicked off when Pingu is tasked with chopping firewood outside his igloo and his mom refuses to let him play with his friend Pingo. Pingu is clearly a young penguin, roughly around 5-7 years old. Most viewers nowadays, especially those in North America, would more than likely question why she'd let her young kid do such a potentially hazardous chore in the first place, and that's without getting into the infamous scene where Pingu's mom slaps him in the face note .


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