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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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Other examples:

  • 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, Hispanics being lazy and slow, etc. 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 the 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 in a meaningful way.
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    • 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 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 the aforementioned "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 cartoons, mind you — but of all the Mexican stereotype cartoons, there were none more heroic than Speedy.
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    • The Three Bears debuted in Bugs Bunny and the Three Bears and starred in their own shorts. Given that the characters include an abusive, perpetually angry Papa Bear who hits Junyer while Mama Bear looks on nonchalantly, their cartoon appearances have aged very, very badly, with domestic violence and abuse not really treated as funny subjects these days. The short A Bear for Punishment, where Ma and Junior try to celebrate Father's Day with a seething Papa Bear, was meant to parody Father's Day celebrations but just seems sad and unfunny to modern audiences.
    • 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 "Mexicali 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 while an advertisement for a hitman mentions Japanese are stamped out for free. The reason they're called the Censored Eleven? These shorts were so racist that when racist jokes were being removed from Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies shorts in light of the Civil Rights Movement, United Artists couldn't remove the racism from them without rendering them incomprehensible, meaning they had to be withdrawn from circulation. With civil rights becoming an increasingly hot-button issue in the latter half of the 2010s and early 2020s, it's looking very unlikely that these cartoons will ever see daylight again.
    • 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 were almost expected from celebrities in later years, it became harder to understand how such a seemingly benign incident would completely dismantle a career, although the results of several high-profile misdemeanors in the mid-late 2010s might make this relevant again.
    • The Foghorn Leghorn cartoons with Miss Prissy: Given that female singlehood is now culturally accepted 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.
    • Out of the 17 "classic" Pepé Le Pew shorts that exist, 15 of them feature Pepé Le Pew essentially stalking and forcing his affections upon a female who is clearly uninterested, if not actively revulsed by him. While his actions aren't portrayed as particularly admirable — he's a parody of the "casanova" archetype common in film at the time — normalizing and playing such behavior for laughs is not something that has aged well at all. It doesn't help that three Pepé shorts note  show that he freaks when his female target goes after him. Because of all of this, it was announced in 2021 that Pepé would be Exiled from Continuity and would not be appearing in Space Jam: A New Legacy and other projects aside from a cameo in Animaniacs (2020) which Lampshades his disappearance.
  • 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.
    • The episode "What Makes Bobby Run?" Could never be made today with schools and society in general treating bullying and hazing much more seriously, especially compared to when it aired in 2001. The episode treating Bobby as a pariah for not submitting to getting beaten by the school marching band would never fly now.
  • 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 comes across as far more disturbing nowadays than it did when it was released. 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. It wasn't until 2020, when the song was restored for the Freeform airing for it's "25 Days Of Christmas" (which also restored the Peppermint Mine scene for Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer since 2019).
  • 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 commentators) 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.
  • 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' Five-Episode 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 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 has some notable examples:
    • 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.
    • In "A Night of Fright Is No Delight" had a Confederacy sympathizer portrayed as a good person.
    • Other examples of villains that would not fly in the modern era include the witch doctor in "A Tiki Scare is No Fair" and the Native American witch doctor in "Decoy for a Dognapper". The latter of which is featured prominently in the first season intro.
    • The New Scooby-Doo Movies has an Undercover Cop Reveal of him Disguised in Drag in the episode "The Secret of Shark Island". He justifies this saying villains would never suspect a woman of being an undercover cop.
    • The episode featuring Dick Van Dyke has him and Daphne stop in a photo booth for a picture. Daphne shows she is clearly attracted to Dick, despite the fact that he is old enough to be her grandfather. Needless to say this could never be done now, celebrity or otherwise.
    • The Scooby-Doo Show has a few examples of indigenous people being scrutinized. "Jeepers, It's the Jaguaro!" Has the indigenous people openly called savages, stated to be headhunters that are openly hostile and speak in illegible grunts. "Watch Out! Willawah!" has similar issues depicting native Americans wearing stereotypical garb and face paint accompanied by the typical "war drum" music associated with them.
  • Schoolhouse Rock! devotes two segments to Manifest Destiny and cultural assimilation ("Elbow Room" and "The Great American Melting Pot" respectively), both of which are rather more controversial and/or out of favor than they were in 1976. By contrast they had a later segment ("The Tale of 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.
  • 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 (read: 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 "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. (To be fair, the show makes it very clear that the rude, conniving Rhubella is not meant to be a role model.)
      • 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, DuckTales (1987), Looney Tunes, Garfield, and other properties. However, its 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 2000s 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 gets his superpowers from taking pills. This probably wouldn't go over well in any kids' cartoon today.
  • The Peppa Pig episode "Mr Skinnylegs" 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.
  • 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 Lebanese 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. Heck, it would probably be viewed as obscenely racist in adult entertainment.
    • 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. Even the fact that she has the face of a literal child is very disgusting when you think of it, even if she is an adult.
  • 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.
    • Fred also comes across as quite a bully at timesnote . In one episode where the Water Buffaloes are preparing to initiate some new members, Fred is gleefully anticipating the prospect of physically abusing them as part of the hazing process. From the perspective of an era in which enough actual death and injury has resulted from organizational hazing to make it a specifically codified criminal offense in many U.S. states, it's hard to watch that episode and ever really like Fred again.
  • 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. Ironic, considering the show was animated in Japan and South Korea.
    • 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.
  • Johnny Bravo, one of the most popular cartoons of the late 1990s and the 2000s, became somewhat controversial throughout The New '10s, due to its premise of playing the misadventures of a girl-crazy egomaniac for laughs, in the wake of more awareness of sexual harassment. Thankfully, it's helped quite a bit as Johnny's "playboy" character usually results in him getting beaten up by those he tries to seduce or otherwise humiliated for trying to seduce women who aren't interested in him and he's typically depicted as a loser who can't get a woman to save his life and still lives with his mother, making it nestle quite comfortably into a Stealth Parody by today's standards.
    • 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 call him stupid instead.
  • The Powerpuff Girls (1998):
    • 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.
    • One episode had a character named 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 2000s and 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".
      • Ironically, this just creates another type of Values Dissonance. Although much was made of Ms. Bellum's sexual attractiveness in the original series, they chose to get rid of her rather than just toning down the sexual aspects. The problem is that this comes off as slut shaming: they got rid of one of the only, if not the only non-superpowered characters who could hold their own against a supervillain, just because she's got a larger bust.
    • Similarly to Ms. Bellum, Sedusa, a recurring female villain whose modus operandi consists of seducing men to get what she wants, does not appear in the reboot at all, and unlike Ms. Bellum there is never a proper explanation as to why she is absent. While nothing has been said in regards to Sedusa's absence, it's generally assumed that the network wouldn't allow her to be used due to her being considered an inappropriate character for younger audiences.
  • 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," which borders on G-rated Double Standard Rape: Female on Male, and the episodes set in Hell) would not be considered as family-friendly these days, nor would the rampant smoking from background characters (mostly in Season 1) and Rocko's boss, Mr. Smitty. Mind you, the show was renowned for Demographically Inappropriate Humor 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.
  • 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 the 1949 short "Donald's Happy Birthday" 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 themselves. 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 runs away. In modern cartoons, this whole plot would be absolutely unthinkable, not only because to modern viewers it is a harmful example of child abuse, but because nowdays no shop would sell cigarettes to minors even if they claim that they are buying them for an adult.
    • 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.
    • Another Donald Duck example would be Donald's Diary, in which Donald breaks up with Daisy after having a nightmare where Daisy makes him to do all the housework. Not only is Donald basing all of this on a dream, meaning his fears of an Awful Wedded Life may be unwarranted, but nowadays, couples are expected to share the house chores rather than expecting one party to do everything, which makes the short come off as incredibly sexist. Daisy is also shown smoking during the short, so there's that as well.
  • Before the PBS/Peacock adaptation, Curious George had a series of stop-motion animated shorts that were rewritten as picture books. In "Curious George at the Laundromat", George floods the laundromat when he uses too much detergent 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."
  • Arthur:
    • The 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.
    • A couple of early episodes, like "Arthur's New Year's Eve", use the phrase "what a gyp." It's highly unlikely that a children's show written these days could get away with this, considering "gyp" is shortened from the now-slur "Gypsy" (evoking the Romani's historical reputation as duplicitous scammers).
    • In "It's a No-Brainer", Brain at one point draws a picture of a noose, which is Played for Laughs. Stuff like that wouldn't fly on any children's show nowadays. It's for this reason that the episode was skipped during the February 2022 ultimate marathon.
  • 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 .
    • "Pingu and the Doll" features Pingu pretending to be an "Indian", which was apparently tolerable in the UK but not even the US accepted it. Due to this disrespectful depiction of Native Americans, it was banned in North America for a while before being made available on Amazon Prime.
    • Pingu's mom spanking him in "Pingu Runs Away". Nowadays, in most parts of the world, corporal punishment is unacceptable.
      • In the same episode, Pingu returning home to his parents and them making up afterwards is portrayed as a happy ending ("Pingu Quarrels with His Mum" ends similarly). While both episodes can be commended for early attempts to show that physically disciplining children is wrong, reports of child abuse cases where victims eventually died at their parents/guardians' hands (especially after failure on others' part to intervene) have increased since the 90's when both episodes were originally aired. As such, folks would more likely advocate for a child character under the circumstances to be flat out removed from his family's custody.
  • Disney+ contains a warning for some of its shows and movies saying "This program is presented as originally created. It may contain outdated cultural depictions.". However, some viewers say that this doesn't go far enough, and doesn't explicitly call the racism and sexism in these shows what it is. They later updated it to be less vague.
  • In The Jetsons, The family's eldest child Judy is 15 or 16, which means that her mother Jane could have been as young as 16 when Judy was conceived, and her father George would have been as young as 23 at the time. Jane and George's then-Age-Gap Romance, while tolerated in the US at the time The Jetsons was released, would be generally seen as abhorrent today, even in states where the age of consent is 16.
  • Rugrats:
    • In "Grandpa's Date", Tommy at one point says "Chuckie, I think we've been gypped". The word 'gypped' was just an expression for being tricked or conned, but it comes from Romani stereotyping (the archetypal image of gypsies as tricksters and con artists) and is considered offensive nowadays.
  • Although the reboot still features Tommy and his friends escaping their playpen and the like, these days you could never get away with episodes like "Ruthless Tommy" where he's kidnapped or "Special Delivery" where Tommy is almost killed in a post office, let alone have them Played for Laughs.
  • "Weaning Tommy" has Stu and Didi close the door on Tommy, as they leave him to cry himself to sleep. This was already a controversial parenting tactic when the episode aired.
  • "A Visit From Lipschitz" has Didi leave the titular doctor all alone in her home to his own devices while she leaves to reprimand Stu and the guys for ditching him for a baseball gamenote . This has her unknowingly leave two babies home alone with a complete stranger, only known for his prestige and fame; not helping that he unknowingly strips naked in front of them to take a bubble bath. Ignoring that Dr. Lipschitz is a celebrity, the idea of leaving a complete stranger alone in your house could never be Played for Laughs now.
  • Histeria!'s treatment of its characters of color is extremely stereotypical: Aka Pella is the only character of color in the kid chorus and is a Sassy Black Woman; Cho Cho is an Asian caricature with an offensive name; and Susanna Susquahanna is a Native American caricature, also with an offensive name. If the show were to be made today, these characters would be written out or retooled extensively to be respectful.
  • Parodied on Family Guy in the episode "Better Off Meg" in which Meg scores a strike at a bowling alley and some racially insensitive animations play on the display screen. Bruce, the owner of the bowling alley, says that they forgot to update the animations.
  • The Fairly OddParents! and Arthur both have a few earlier episodes of theirs using the now offensive slur “gypped.”
  • A scene in the first season of Winx Club, an Italian series, had the Trix torment a black pageant contestant by turning her hair in a gigantic afro, much to her consternation. While American viewers have accused the show of racism over it (and the 4Kids dub changed it to the Trix giving her a squeaky voice), the Italian creators simply thought that it was just a funny-looking hairstyle.
  • In The Raccoons episode "Stress Test!", Cyril Sneer, a frequent Cigar Chomper, is still allowed to have his cigar in his mouth when he's at the hospital. Smoking has since been banned in hospitals due to it being hazardous to the patients.
  • The SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Mid-Life Crustacean" was banned and pulled from the Paramount+ streaming service because of the "panty raid" at the end.
  • Fireman Sam:
    • One episode which has a television explode has a line of "I knew it was too foreign to work properly". This one will confuse modern viewers (since Japanese and South Korean electronics don't have a reputation for being cheap like Chinese electronics) and come off as somewhat racist.
    • Station Officer Steele's initial discomfort with the idea of a female firefighter when Penny made her debut can come off this way to a modern audience. In the 80s, a female firefighter was still a new concept.
    • Some Moral Guardians (one of them being London's Fire Brigade Commissioner Dany Cotton) once demanded that Fireman Sam be renamed to Firefighter Sam under the view of "the show reinforces gender stereotypes and turns women off from becoming firefighters!" whilst gleefully ignoring the fact that one of the firefighters, Penny Morris, is a woman and that the name of the show is supposed to rhyme, and if the show's Grandfather Clause was repealed and the name changed to Firefighter Sam, the rhyme would be ruined. Amusingly this was foreshadowed in the previous example, when Steele realised he'd need to call Penny "Firefighter Morris" instead of "Fireman Morris".
  • Mike, Lu & Og: Though the island residents are white, the extremely stereotypical depiction of Polynesian cultures, especially the neighboring savage, primitive, animalistic Cuzzlewitz clan, definitely wouldn't fly these days.
  • The Care Bears (1980s) episode "The Big Star Round-Up" features a little girl named Gay. While an acceptable name for a child in the 80s, when the word was associated with "happiness", naming a child Gay today would, at best, raise a few eyebrows, and at worst, be compared to naming a child "Lesbian", due to the word now being almost exclusively associated with homosexuality.
  • South Park deliberately sets out to be as shocking as possible, but there's usually an undercurrent of acceptance towards non-whites, homosexuals and the disabled presented in a way that doesn't come across as too in-your-face. There are two examples of the show aging badly in these regards though.
    • The protagonists frequently use "fag" and "retard" as insults. While Cartman or equally unsympathetic characters can get away with using it due to context, it's not quite so justifiable for Stan and Kyle, who are typically shown to be the voice of reason. Telling is how both insults were phased out over the course of the 2010s.
    • Attitudes towards trans people have shifted considerably over the show's lifetime. Back when Mr. Garrison had his first sex change, it was seen as nothing more than a joke about spur-of-the-moment surgeries that make the individual look ridiculous. Nowadays it comes across as little more than ridiculing trans people for doing something as harmless as demonstrating their bodily autonomy. Later episodes have zigzagged on the issue, making it unclear exactly how the writers feel about it.
  • The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic "The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000" has the entire town line up for the Apple family's famous cider. Since the show is made in America, "cider" in this case is meant to mean unfiltered, sweetened, non-alcoholic, apple juice. However, most European countries that use the word cider doesn't make a distinction between cider and hard, alcoholic cider. The result being that to a European audience, it seems like the entire town of Ponyville are alcoholics.
  • Inspector Gadget:
    • A few episodes utilize some racial stereotypes. Notably the Romani in "Prince of the Gypsies" depicted with stereotypical garb and accents. A few episodes also have Dr. Claw partner with villains of the Yellow Peril variety.
    • The episodes "Gadget's Replacement" and "Busy Signal" have the inspector accidentally peeping on mostly undressed women (in the former she's in a bikini, in the latter it's a bathrobe) and called a peeping Tom and a pervert. Neither of these would ever be considered acceptable in a contemporary kids show.
    • A symbol of the shows age is how air travel safety is skirted around. A MAD agent couldn't dare sneak a sharp or blunt object aboard a plane in the 21st century. Nor could Penny and Brain so easily hide in the cargo bay of the plane under Gadget's nose without being put on a no-fly list. The chances of Gadget himself being able to fly on a modern airplane, what with all that metal and potentially deadly equipment inside him, would be very slim now as well.

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