When the hit animated series “Ed, Edd n Eddy” premiered on Cartoon Network in 1999, it became a cult classic. Even though the final episode aired in 2008, this show is still referenced today, but the fact remains that plenty of its dialogues and storylines, and even its main characters, wouldn’t make it on the air today. The show followed the lives of three preteen boys and how they deal with typical growing pains.
But a lot of scenes featured violence, assumed child abuse in some of the characters, and mental health issues. The main characters also appear to have severe ADHD and OCD, which are shown in a comical light. It’s safe to say that a show covering such controversial topics would get passed on nowadays.
It’s no secret that the iconic animated show “Family Guy” has been criticized since the day it aired. And although the show’s witty writing and sheer comedic value are undeniable, one has to admit that it crosses every single line you can think of. From mocking disabled people, to featuring a homicidal baby, to laughing about a pedophilic neighbor, “Family Guy” is the epitome of offensiveness.
And despite the show’s most offensive content being somewhat contained to the earlier seasons, “Family Guy” continues to shock audiences to this day. Perhaps it’s Seth MacFarlane’s reputation, or the show’s contract with Fox, but this show doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.
Malcolm in the Middle
Another 2000 show that has been heavily criticized is the popular American sitcom, “Malcolm in the Middle.” People often point out the show’s controversial standpoint on social class and racism, like in a number of scenes with Abe and Hal where it's obvious that their social status and wealth is directly related to their race.
Also, the fact that Malcolm’s best friend Stevie is bullied for having a handicap is just terrible. In turn, Malcolm is also very bullied for being a smart and responsible student, which gives out a wrong message to young boys. If this show were to air today, it would tank after one episode.
That 70s Show
Let’s be clear, we all loved “That 70s Show”; the story, the characters, the writing, everything was top-notch. However, as the pop culture symbol it became, it was obviously in tune with the times it aired in, which were the late 90s. Back then, nicknaming Wilder Valderrama “Fez” (for ‘Foreign Exchange Student’) was not only acceptable, but it was also considered hilarious.
Nowadays, there is no writer in their right mind that would even dare float the idea. Also, there were plenty of sexist remarks that Red Foreman would say to his wife Kitty, as that was completely acceptable in a marriage back in the 70s.
"Glee" took the world by storm in the early 2010s, but rewatching it now is all kinds of cringe. From transphobia, misogynism, and ableism, to racism and fatphobia, there literally was not one problematic box that "Glee" did not tick. There was even an episode where a male student confides in his friends about an inappropriate experience he had with his babysitter when he was a child.
And his friends chastise him that he experienced every guy's fantasy, and should be grateful for it. WHAT? As the show went on, more and more slurs were written in, and the series unnecessarily forced 'deep' issues (that it was not equipped to discuss) into practically every episode. It's got a controversial legacy, but it probably wouldn't fly today.