That didn’t age well! TV fans reveal the ‘offensive’ shows that would never make it onto screens today – from shaming ‘humungous whales’ on Fat Families to blackface on Scrubs
- Anonymous woman asked Reddit users for TV shows that have aged badly
- Claimed America’s Next Top Model would humiliate contestants for drama
- Responses criticised Supersize Vs. Superskinny, Wife Swap and Bo’ Selecta!
While many of us long for our favourite shows from the past to become available on streaming services, this thread will make you consider how certain scenes may no longer be appropriate.
Posting anonymously on Reddit, people from across the UK said some decade-old programmes could now be deemed offensive for their casual racism and even influence a dangerous lifestyle.
The thread kicked off after a woman criticised the judges on hit show America’s Next Top Model, accusing them of putting drama above the health and safety of those competing to become catwalk queens.
Responses to the thread were quick to name other reality shows that now make them feel uncomfortable to watch, as well as many comedy sketches that use offensive language.
Reddit users have been naming the TV programmes that they believe wouldn’t be allowed to air now – including Channel 4’s Supersize Vs. Superskinny (pictured)
A Reddit user began the discussion after claiming America’s Next Top Model put its contestants in mental and physical danger
The woman began the thought-provoking discussion, saying: ‘There are a lot of shows particularly from the 90s and 00s that have just not aged well at all. When we look at them with our modern ideas there is a element of, “OMG how was this allowed on TV?”.
‘For me the queen of these shows has to be America’s Next Top Model. This show had everything, public humiliation, sexual assault, pitting girls against one another for drama, selective editing to make one girl the b****, putting these very young girls in mental and physical danger.
‘Also if any of the girls pushed back against this ritual humiliation they would get the, “Well you’re not cut out to be model because you won’t let us humiliate you on national TV”. What other shows out there do you think would never be allowed today?’
A flood of responses listed reality TV shows that they doubt would be allowed to air today.
The thread kicked off after a woman criticised the judges on hit show America’s Next Top Model, accusing them of putting drama above the health and safety of those competing to become catwalk queens (pictured: Tyra Banks on an old episode of ANTM during her iconic screaming row at Tiffany Richardson in the 2005 series)
One person wrote: ‘Fat Families – especially when the presenter starts off by saying “I’m here in Hull with some of Britain’s fattest whales” or “Here are some humongous fatties”… it’s so awkward to watch haha.’
Fat Families was a documentary reality show broadcast on Sky1 in 2010. It saw weight loss guru Steve Miller helps overweight families improve their lifestyles and eating habits.
Steve used to be overweight himself, but after losing four stone to get down to a healthy 11st, he now works as a motivational weight loss speaker.
The opening episode saw Steve tell viewers he was about to encounter ‘one of the fattest families I’ve ever met in my life’ who are ‘grazing their way to an early grave’. He then exclaimed: ‘Watch out massive fatties, the lard police are in town!’
Fat Families was a documentary reality show broadcast on Sky1 in 2010. It saw weight loss guru Steve Miller helps overweight families improve their lifestyles and eating habits
Supersize Vs Superskinny
Another said: ‘Supersize Vs Superskinny. Forcing people with eating disorders to strip down to their underwear, pass comments on each other’s bodies and make them eat unhealthy diet would never fly nowadays.’
The Channel 4 documentary series, which first aired in 2008, featured information about dieting and extreme eating lifestyles. It featured a weekly comparison between an overweight and an underweight person.
The two were brought to a feeding clinic, and live together for five days (later on two days), swapping diets, all supervised by Dr Christian Jessen. After the experiment they would follow a healthy eating plan for three months before returning for a final weigh-in and health screening.
A flood of responses to the thread listed reality TV shows that mocked body weight and featured contestants with extreme views on race and sexuality
Another Reddit user suggested Wife Swap, writing: ‘My GOD there’s some racist, homophobic and judgmental people on there.’
The premise of the Channel 4 show, which first broadcast in 2003 and ran for seven years, saw two women, both of them partners and mothers, agree to leave their home and live with another family to ‘try out a different spouse for a fortnight’.
The first episode left many viewers appalled when Dee Jackson, who was white, in her 40s, overweight and a vocal opponent of ‘mixed marriages’, was paired with Lance, who was black, sexist and branded his new wife ‘fat, ugly, smelly and doesn’t keep the place or herself clean’.
There was also a celebrity spin off version, which saw Who Wants to be a Millionaire cheat Charles Ingram and his wife Diana swap with the late Jade Goody and her then-partner Jeff Brazier.
One person responded to the thread saying, ‘Wife Swap (pictured). My GOD there’s some racist, homophonic and judgmental people on there’ (pictured: contestant Sharon with the Tofts in 2005)
The first episode left many viewers appalled when Dee Jackson, who was white, in her 40s, overweight and a vocal opponent of ‘mixed marriages’, was paired with Lance, who was black, sexist and branded his new wife ‘fat, ugly, smelly and doesn’t keep the place or herself clean’
Others named comedy shows that featured sketches mocking stereotypes, with one writing: ‘Came across the Fonejacker podcast recently which led me to revisit the TV show, which I loved as a teenager. Not sure if it’s just due to age, but didn’t particularly enjoy it this time round and totally forget Facejacker ever existed – the character, Augustus Kwembe, seems a little on the nose.’
Fonejacker was a British comedy programme broadcast on E4 featuring a series of prank calls involving a number of different characters performed by British Iranian television actor Kayvan Novak. It first appeared in May 2006 and became a full series in 2007.
Fonejacker won the BAFTA award for the Best Comedy Programme in 2008.
Fonejacker was a British comedy programme broadcast on E4 featuring a series of prank calls involving a number of different characters performed by British Iranian television actor Kayvan Novak
Others cited Bo’ Selecta! – a sketch show written and performed by Leigh Francis, broadcast on Channel 4 from 2002 until 2009. It lampooned popular culture and became known for its often surreal, abstract toilet humour.
Last year it was removed from the Channel 4 streaming service All 4 after Francis apologised for playing black characters including Michael Jackson, Craig David and Trisha Goddard.
Goddard had contacted Francis about his use of blackface on the show after he posted a black square on Instagram while taking part in Blackout Tuesday, which prompted the comedian to post a video saying he was sorry after doing ‘a lot of talking and learning’.
One Reddit user wrote: ‘The things with Bo’ Selecta! was that it was hyper-absurd. The character he created shared very little in common with the real people they were based on.
‘It was just completely ridiculous from start to finish, the joke was never aimed at the individual or race… which I thought would shield Leigh Francis from future criticism. But I suppose it was inevitable that changing attitudes would come back to haunt him.’
One Reddit user defended highly criticised comedy Bo’ Selecta! (pictured), arguing Leigh Francis didn’t aim his jokes at a particular individual or race
Comedy fans admitted they cringe at sketches in shows they once loved including The Catherine Tate Show and Facejacker
Drama series were also viewed as problematic, as Reddit users admitted they’ve struggled to binge watch once popular programmes.
One person said: ‘I’ve been re-watching Scrubs lately and yikes it’s more misogynistic than I remember from my teens. It’s not so bad if boycott it, but it’s kind of like Friends, aged badly but still watchable [sic].’
Scrubs was an American medical comedy-drama television series that aired from October 2001 to March 2010, following the lives of employees at the fictional Sacred Heart Hospital, which is a teaching hospital.
The title is a play on surgical scrubs and a term for a low-ranking person because at the beginning of the series, most of the main characters are medical interns.
Last year its creator Bill Lawrence addressed the removal of three episodes featuring blackface from the streaming platform Hulu. He admitted he thought at the time that they had a ‘free pass’ to include blackface because it was ‘a very diverse show’.
Last year its creator Bill Lawrence addressed the removal of three episodes featuring blackface from the streaming platform Hulu
Brainiac: Science Abuse
Another wrote: ‘Does anyone else remember Brainiac: Science Abuse? I was thinking the other day, looking back, there was a lot of casual sexism, the “science” was certainly laddish.
‘Not to mention blowing up so many caravans can’t have had a good environmental impact. Certainly not how a pop science show would be done today.’
The British entertainment documentary show aired on Sky One from November 2003 to March 2008. During each episode numerous experiments were carried out to verify whether common conceptions are true – such as whether it is possible to run across a pool of custard – or simply to create impressive explosions.
The experimenters on the show are referred to as Brainiacs and each episode usually finished with the destruction of a caravan.
One Reddit user referenced Streetmate, commenting: ‘Absolutely b****y loved watching it back in the day (Davina McCall pre Big Brother with a person who goes around the street and points out someone they think is alright, Davina then chases them down to get their number/arrange a date). F*****g yikes now.’
The Channel 4 show first aired in October 1998 and ran until March 2001, hosted by McCall, and then aired on ITV2 from September to November in 2007, this time fronted by Holly Willoughby.
The series returned to Channel 4 in 2017, this time, hosted by Scarlett Moffatt.
Another individual said the concept of Davina McCall (pictured) chasing people on the street to arrange a date on Streetmate hasn’t aged well
A third added: ‘Bad Girls. I’ve been bingeing it from start and it is full of rapey things. Prison officers in relationships with inmates where it’s portrayed as romantic but legally, that’s rape and extremely morally questionable.
‘Then there’s the inmates sexually assaulting male prison staff, grabbing their bums and the like which is portrayed as just a cheeky bit of fun. Not to mention the actual “proper” rapes. Pretty homophobic too.’
Bad Girls was a British TV drama broadcast on ITV from June 1999 until December 2006 and featured a large ensemble cast. Storylines were portrayed in a more graphic manner than past prison series in terms of violence, language and sexual content.
The thought-provoking series focused on sensitive issues such as bullying, rape, suicide, miscarriage, drug use and violence against women, while lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender characters also featured.
Bad Girls was a British TV drama broadcast on ITV from June 1999 until December 2006 and featured a large ensemble cast
Others blasted drama series that promoted misogyny, homophobia and featured scenes of sexual assaults as jokes
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