17 Toxic 2000s TV & Film Moments That Would NEVER Be Tolerated Today

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2000s fashion may be making a comeback, but the 2000s weren't just boot-cut jeans, over-plucked eyebrows, and tube tops.

Gen Z beware: The 2000s were rife with generally accepted racism, homophobia being used as punchlines, slut shaming, and other such wonderful cultural tidbits. While Hollywood is still filled with cultural missteps, it's a much more diverse and nuanced place than when I was growing up in the early millennium. Here are some TV and film moments from the 2000s that, hopefully, would never make it onscreen today.

1.Portraying Michael Oher as the dumb beneficiary of white saviors in The Blind Side (2009):

The Blind Side cast

While based on a heartwarming true story of a Black teenager being adopted by a white family and going on to become an NFL star and Superbowl champion, the movie was a well-acted white savior play. Firstly, by cutting out all the reasons Oher was under-educated (lack of consistent schooling due to homelessness and foster care), they made it look like he was a savant rather than a normal (well, obviously above-average intelligence considering his career plays) kid who just needed consistency and educational opportunities. Secondly, as Oher himself protested in his 2014 memoir:

"I could not figure out why the director chose to show me as someone who had to be taught the game of football. Whether it was S.J. moving around ketchup bottles or Leigh Anne explaining to me what blocking is about, I watched those scenes thinking, 'No, that's not me at all! I've been studying — really studying — the game since I was a kid!'"

Jim Spellman / WireImage

2.Asians in Mean Girls (2004):

image of girls talking to each other and airing out their problems in the movie mean girls

I stan Mean Girls, and my queen Tina Fey gets so many things on POINT in that seminal sleepover film. Soooo why do the "cool Asians" in Mean Girls have nonsense Korean names (Trang Pak is not a real Korean or Vietnamese name) but speak Vietnamese?

Paramount Pictures

3.Joey's inner homophobe in Friends (2002):

Joey from Friends

Sensitive, jovial Joey is a wannabe actor in New York City, which means he should be surrounded by plenty of queer people and culture. However, when Ross and Rachel hire a gay nanny, Joey reveals a blatant bigotry that the show treats as funny and normal. The problem is that Friends didn't point out his homophobia as a problem, but as a joke punctuated by laugh tracks.

David Hume Kennerly / Getty Images

4.Shaming men for expressing emotion in John Tucker Must Die:

John Tucker Must Die cast

Remember when they snuck ladies' man John Tucker estrogen pills in retaliation for cheating, and it somehow made him so emotional he started crying during a basketball game? Not only does the movie make a punchline out of a man having an emotional breakdown, but they also tie it to being "womanly."

Apparently, estrogen makes you say things like, "I'm anxious and bloated; do my thighs look fat in these shorts," and, "My nipples hurt." Hmm.

Evan Agostini / Getty Images

5.Patrolling teenage daughter's virginity in What Women Want (2000):

Mel Gibson in front of What Women Want movie poster

Nick (Mel Gibson)'s character undergoes a transformation when he gets the magical ability to read women's minds. While this movie isn't as bad as it could be, considering the era, the lesson Nick teaches his daughter that the only thing older boys could want from her is sex is a bit outdated.

Vince Bucci / Getty Images

6.Samantha Jones dating a Black man in SATC:

image of Samantha jones with her boyfriend at a club

Samantha is a boss bitch, but every single second of her brief affair with a Black man on SATC is cringeworthy. From "talking Black" to the reverse racism plotline of portraying Samantha — who rarely even interacts with people of color in one of the most diverse cities in the world — as the REAL open-minded one... Too much oblivious racism, too little time.


7.Dukes of Hazzard Confederate flag car (2005):

Dukes of Hazzard General Lee car

Warner Brothers' 2005 film kept the original show's General Lee car with a Confederate flag. What a joke.

Gabriel Bouys / AFP via Getty Images

8.Rob Schneider's Chinese wedding minister in I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry (2007):

Adam Sandler and Kevin James on set of I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry

So many homophobic and racist jokes abound, but Rob Schneider's Chinese wedding minister is one of the most egregious.

Lester Cohen / WireImage

9.When Ted Mosby rejected a girl because she used to be overweight, HIMYM (2007):

Josh Radnor standing

Ted Mosby's had a LOT of terrible moments, but this one aged particularly poorly. The cherry on top of an ongoing series of fat jokes is when he breaks up with a nice girl just because she USED to be overweight.

Stephen Lovekin / Getty Images

10.The overweight moment in White Chicks (2004):

Jennifer Carpenter with cast of White Chicks

Are we really supposed to believe Jennifer Carpenter's tiny behind is "Cellulite Sally"? Yes, it's supposed to mock their supposedly silly anxieties; taken seriously, that movie (one of my favorite movies) is a field strewn with non-PC land mines. But it's also a prime example of the many anxieties of rich, white, young women created by a toxic culture of body shaming.

Kevin Winter / Getty Images

11.The entire premise of Shallow Hal (2001):

Jack Black with Gwyneth Paltrow

The entire premise of Shallow Hal is that Jack Black has standards that are "too high," so he gets spelled to see larger chicks as hot, thin women. To learn about his own shallowness. WTF?! Is the lesson that big women need love too? Or that they need to be thin to be attractive?! So many problems here.

Vince Bucci / Getty Images

12.Filming the naked exchange student without her consent in American Pie:

Giphy / Via giphy.com

Remember when the guys secretly planted a camera and filmed the foreign exchange student naked without her permission? That did not age well.

13."Fat Monica" from Friends:

Fat Monica scene in Friends

Fat-shaming pervaded many aspects of early 2000s films and television, from Love Actually to Friends. When being fat is the joke's sole punchline, it's not very funny. Monica's jadedness supposedly comes from her secret past as a fat kid, and every scene where Courteney Cox dons a fat suit is pretty cringeworthy.

Nbc / NBCUniversal via Getty Images

14.Barney secretly filming his sexcapades:

Giphy / Via giphy.com

This is ongoing throughout the whole show; Barney brags about secretly filming his conquests and having a collection of homemade pornos. It's a scary thought that some guy may have filmed you having sex without your consent.

15.White savior syndrome in Bring It On: All Or Nothing (2006):

Hayden Panettiere looking away

Here's another nostalgic movie that was so problematic. Hayden Panettiere plays White Savior to a group of South Central cheerleaders, because it takes a blonde from Pacific Vista to teach them how to crump and lead them to victory at Rihanna's dance-off.

Universal / ©Universal/Courtesy Everett Collection

16.Teaching women they need to be dumb to be sexy in The House Bunny (2008):

giphy / Via giphy.com

The entire premise of the movie is that you should change to get boys to like you, and apparently boys only like women who are not too smart, too slutty, too dumb, or too outspoken.

17.Michael consistently getting away with sexual harassment in The Office:

Giphy / Via giphy.com

Michael Scott is supposed to be the super cringeworthy boss we all love to hate, but the show makes it OK that he sexually harasses women all the time, both above and below him on the corporate ladder, often egregiously. How did he not get fired for sending everyone sexy pics of his boss behind her back?

For my millennials, were there any other early and mid-2000s movie and TV moments that aged poorly to you? Let me know in the comments below!

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