Beloved TV Shows That Wouldn’t Fly Today

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There’s a growing wave of famous comedians publicly criticizing the rise of extreme “wokeness” and how “cancel culture” is strangling comedy. Monty Python’s John Cleese, for instance, has expressed concerns that the current obsession with political correctness is pushing writers and comedians into a state of overthinking, which he believes leads to the “death of creativity.”

While the shift toward more inclusive and respectful content is essential, it also means that some beloved TV classics wouldn’t make the cut today. Shows that were once staples of humor and entertainment would be outright scandalous in the current climate.

Here are nine shows that would never be made today:

Image Credit: MediaFeed; IMDb; Wikipedia; Tweedle-Dee Productions / NBC / IMDB.

1. ‘Married… with Children’ (1987-1997)

“Married… with Children” was designed to be the antithesis of wholesome sitcoms, with the working title being “We’re Not the Cosbys.” According to co-creator Michael Moye, “The show was sold on the premise that no one is ever going to learn anything watching it.”

This anti-political correctness made it popular but also controversial. Today, Al Bundy’s relentless fat-shaming, Peg’s stereotypical lazy housewife portrayal, and Marcy D’Arcy’s exaggerated feminist character would set X (formerly Twitter) ablaze with hashtag activism.

It was a hit in its time, but now it feels more like an awkward family reunion you can’t escape. 

Image Credit: IMDb.

2. ‘The Dukes of Hazzard’ (1979-1985)

A silly show about car chases, jean shorts, and outrageous stunts, “The Dukes of Hazzard” was a fun, Southern-fried romp. But today? Yikes. The iconic orange car, the General Lee, emblazoned with the Confederate flag, is a major red flag (pun intended).

What seemed like harmless fun back in the day now looks like a celebration of a problematic symbol. John Schneider, who played Bo Duke, defended the show, saying, “‘The Dukes of Hazzard’ was and is no more a show seated in racism than ‘Breaking Bad’ was a show seated in reality.”

However, the casual sexism, lack of racial diversity, and some outdated gender roles would not sit well with modern audiences and would be an instant cancel culture target. 

Image Credit: IMDb.

3. ‘Friends’ (1994-2004)

This is one where the woke mob would have torn it apart for being a politically incorrect minefield. Yep, your beloved “Friends” wouldn’t make it past the pilot episode today. Despite its massive popularity, the show is retrospectively criticized for being riddled with issues that just wouldn’t fly today. 

First of all, in its decade-long run and 236 episodes, only three people of color had more than five minutes of screen time. The constant gay panic jokes, Chandler’s transphobic jokes about his dad and the fat-shaming of Monica’s younger self are particularly glaring. It’s a nostalgic favorite, but let’s be real — it’s aged like milk.

Image Credit: IMDb.

4. ‘All in the Family’ (1971-1979)

Archie Bunker, the lovable bigot? Yeah, that concept alone is enough to send shivers down today’s politically correct spine. “All in the Family” tackled serious social issues through the lens of a character who was unapologetically racist, sexist, and homophobic.

Before the show aired in 1970, it was tested for a long time, as CBS was initially nervous about the show’s controversial nature, but it quickly became a hit despite mixed reviews.

While it was groundbreaking for its time, Archie’s offensive remarks would be unacceptable today. The show’s approach to hot-button issues, though intended to spark conversation, would likely ignite social media outrage now.

Image Credit: CBS Television / WikiMedia Commons.

5. ‘Two and a Half Men’ (2003-2015)

“Two and a Half Men,” with its crude humor and Charlie Sheen’s wild antics, wouldn’t stand a chance today. The show thrived on jokes about women, sex, and crude humor, revolving around Charlie Harper’s womanizing ways and his brother Alan’s pathetic life. The constant objectification of women and normalization of inappropriate behavior would draw immediate backlash in the current social climate.

The show was also marred by off-screen controversies, most notably Sheen’s very public meltdown and subsequent firing in 2011. Sheen’s behavior, which included erratic interviews and offensive remarks, further tainted the show’s reputation. Ashton Kutcher was brought in as a replacement, but the show never fully recovered its former glory.

Image Credit: IMDb.

6. ‘The Office’ (2005-2013)

While it hurts me physically to include “The Office” on this list, even the show’s star, Steve Carell, has said that the beloved show would never fly nowadays.

“The climate’s different,” Carell told Esquire in 2018. “I mean, the whole idea of that character, Michael Scott, so much of it was predicated on inappropriate behavior.”

In today’s social climate, Michael Scott’s cringe-inducing management style and the inappropriate office antics at Dunder Mifflin would be too much to swallow (that’s what she… Never mind).

Image Credit: Tweedle-Dee Productions / NBC / IMDB.

7. ‘That ’70s Show’ (1998-2006)

“That ’70s Show” gave us all the bell-bottoms, platform shoes, and basement hangouts we could handle, but its humor often veered into problematic territory. Casual sexism, homophobic jokes, and Hyde’s creepy behavior? Yeah, those wouldn’t fly today. And let’s not forget Fez, the walking stereotype who was the butt of way too many cringe-worthy jokes.

To add to the mess, in 2023, Danny Masterson, the actor who portrayed Hyde, was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison after being charged with two counts of rape. This off-screen scandal, combined with the outdated humor, makes it hard to imagine “That ’70s Show” being greenlit in today’s climate.

Image Credit: IMDb.

8. ‘Three’s Company’ (1977-1984)

Three single roommates with a boatload of misunderstandings, all hinging on the premise that a straight man has to pretend to be gay to live with two women? Problematic doesn’t even begin to cover it. “Three’s Company,” based on the popular British show “Man About the House,” was packed with double entendres and sexual innuendos that would be seen as offensive today. The show’s humor, which often relied on stereotypes and outdated notions of sexuality, would get it canceled faster than you can say “misunderstanding.”

Image Credit: Public Domain / Wikipedia.

9. ‘The Honeymooners ‘(1955-1956)

“To the moon, Alice!” If you’re cringing at that catchphrase, you’re not alone. “The Honeymooners” was a hit in its day, but Ralph Kramden’s constant threats of domestic violence toward his wife, Alice, are beyond problematic now. The show’s humor often revolved around Ralph’s explosive temper and the verbal abuse he directed at his wife. What was once considered comedic gold is now seen as an unsettling relic of a less enlightened time. This classic would be called out instantly for promoting harmful stereotypes and normalizing abusive behavior.

This article was produced and syndicated by MediaFeed.

Image Credit: IMDB.com.

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