What TV Trope Was Common in the Not-So Distant Past but Is Completely Unacceptable Today?

What TV Trope Was Common in the Not-So Distant Past but Is Completely Unacceptable Today?

TV shows reflect the society and culture they are produced in, but they also shape the viewers’ perceptions and expectations of reality. Sometimes, TV shows use tropes or clichés meant to be funny, dramatic, or relatable, but they may also be offensive, outdated, or unrealistic. In this article, we will look at some of the TV tropes that were common in the not-so distant past but are completely unacceptable today, based on the responses from the ASK Reddit community.

Very Special Episodes

In the past, TV shows often featured “very special episodes” where characters faced life-altering situations. Such as drug addiction, teen pregnancy, or gun violence, only to return to their carefree selves in the next episode. This once common trope now raises eyebrows as it can trivialize serious issues.

Clip show Episodes

Clip show episodes are used to pad out series without a big budget. They have lost their appeal in an age where storytelling and budgets focus more on quality than quantity.

Game Show Host Behavior

Another trope that wouldn’t fly today is game show hosts kissing female contestants on the lips. This practice, once seen as playful, is now invasive and disrespectful.

Jokes About Spousal Abuse

Inappropriate jokes about spousal abuse once played for laughs. And they are rightfully considered insensitive and unacceptable today.

Voyeuristic Storylines

Storylines featuring spying on women while changing or engaging in voyeuristic behavior, often portrayed as innocent rites of passage, now appear inappropriate and intrusive.


In the past, entire episodes built around characters being unable to find or communicate with each other, relying on misunderstandings. Today, with the ubiquity of cell phones and text messages, such plotlines seem contrived and outdated.

Suicide Jokes in Cartoons

Cartoons frequently used suicide as a punchline, with characters humorously brandishing weapons against themselves. Such dark humor has no place in today’s more sensitive climate.

As society evolves, so does our awareness of what is appropriate and respectful. While these tropes may have been part of TV’s history, they are not part of its future. Share your thoughts on these changes and any other TV tropes you believe should be consigned to the past.

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