It might be a hard fact to swallow, but the 1990s began 33 years ago. And, in that time, a lot has changed culturally when it comes to what's appropriate to air on TV, what's acceptable to say on a TV show, and what type of TV series get made in general. Because of this, there are a number of '90s shows that would not get made today. Some are simply outdated, while others were offensive at the time and would likely be a problem for even more viewers today. Read on for six TV shows from the decade that should stay lost to history.
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TRL, or Total Request Live, was a big hit after it premiered on MTV in 1998. Viewers got to watch interviews with their favorite pops stars and check out a countdown of the top music videos. It declined in popularity over the years and certainly wouldn't work today. Music videos aren't as big of a deal as they used to be, and anyone who wants to watch one can find whatever they want, whenever they want online. In fact, TRL was rebooted in 2017, and it was a total request failure.
Married… with Children
Married… with Children was controversial during the 10 years it aired from 1987 to 1997—it was even the subject of a highly publicized boycott—and a lot of the content it featured wouldn't fly today. Amanda Bearse, who played Marcy on the show, said in a 2022 interview with Page Six, "It was a very misogynist show. To me, there were some episodes and storylines that I really wasn't a fan of … there is a bit of cancel culture around it, which to me is not inappropriate."
That said, there is talk of Married… with Children returning as an animated series, but one can only assume the jokes will be different than they were the first time around.
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Jerry Springer certainly had its critics during its run, which began in 1991. The daytime talk show featured guests fighting on stage, explicit language, topics including abuse and sex, as well as transphobia, homophobia, and other offensive perspectives in some of its segments.
The show ran until 2018—and its spinoff The Steve Wilkos Show is still airing in syndication—but it's hard to imagine a show like this starting anew today.
The animated series Johnny Bravo, or one like it, could maybe still be made today—just not for kids. The issue with this show is that it was somewhat aimed at children when it aired on Cartoon Network alongside other kid shows, even though it was really more of an adult animated series. The title character was a misogynist and the show often featured adult jokes.
The Ren&Stimpy Show
Similar to Johnny Bravo, The Ren&Stimpy Show would not fly as kids' programming today. The series aired on Nickelodeon, a children's TV channel, but it featured plenty of adult humor, violence, and sexual innuendo, not to mention intentionally gross visuals. The show was controversial at the time, and one episode was even banned from airing.
If you don't recall, Dinosaurs was a primetime sitcom centered around an animatronic dinosaur family—complete with a mom, dad, sister, brother, and baby—that aired from 1991 to 1995. While it gathered a fanbase and is still talked about today, it featured some pretty dark storylines for a family show. In the Season 1 episode "Hurling Day," the Sinclairs prepare to toss their grandmother off a cliff to her death, as is the custom for all elderly dinosaurs when they reach a certain age. And in the series finale, well…the Ice Age starts to arrive and the beginning of their extinction event occurs.