21 Popular TV Shows That In Retrospect Are Shockingly Sexist, Homophobic, Or Just Problematic

Some TV shows age super gracefully — look at the staying power of a show like M*A*S*H! But some TV shows, even ones that are under a decade old, realllyyyy don't hold up anymore.

The cast of "M*A*S*H"
20th Century Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection

So, when Reddit user u/lilac_cup asked, "Which TV series has aged like milk?" people had THOUGHTS. Here are 21 shows people think did NOT age well.

1.Secret Life of the American Teenager

Amy: "I am such a whore" Ben: "well, you're my whore"

Suggested by u/carlirodriguez8

"My god, this show was terrible. My wife’s sister was into it, and we ended up watching a lot of it when we were dating. I think they tried to make the banter like Gilmore Girls, but it ended up being the characters repeating their current plots and arcs over and over. I don’t remember the characters at all, but the main character was such a horrible person, and the audience is supposed to root for her. The main things I remember about it were the religious girl claiming she killed her dad by having sex with her boyfriend, and apparently, you go to Bologna to get bjs."

u/MachFighterG

ABC Family

2.Glee

Screenshots from "Glee"

Suggested by u/statlight_

"I just rewatched the whole series, and man, what the fuck kind of drugs were the writers/producers/network people on?! There is so much that happens on that show that would NEVER be on network TV these days."

u/kaytay3000

Fox

3.Dance Moms

The moms, looking uncomfortable, talk about how uncomfortable their kids are as they watch them rehearse the showgirl dance

"[It] used to be entertaining; now, all I can see is the psychological effects it must’ve had on those girls."

u/KE789

"Abby Lee is batshit. ... Plus, those themes she chooses for the dances? I think there was one about [showgirls], and all the girls were, like, 10? And then, the actual moms…it’s so entertaining, but I do fear for the mental health of everyone on the show."

u/amic21

Lifetime

4.The Cosby Show

Screenshots from "The Cosby Show"

Suggested by woahwoahwoah28

"Until this show, our representation in media was mostly prostitutes, gang members, and slaves. But this family was a normal family with kids that looked like me, and it was LIFE CHANGING to see onscreen. I also grew up listening to his standup with my entire family. We’d sit in the living room and laugh so hard we were crying. Bill Cosby did so much for the Black community. And when the news broke, it didn’t feel real. It was like accusing our dad of being a predator. ...

"For me, it’s the most difficult example of separating the artist from the art. I can’t do it. So, I can’t listen to his standup, and I can’t watch The Cosby Show.

"Fuck you, Bill Cosby. You did wonderful things for my community, but your actions polluted them. You did terrible things to innocent women. You deserve to rot in hell."

u/anyonecanwearthemask

NBC

5.America's Next Top Model

Screenshots from "America's Next Top Model"

"I remember going nuts over it when it first came out, and now looking back, that show is rife with gross body image — not to mention literally putting models in blackface for a shoot."

u/kyloismydad

"I can recall, at least TWICE, girls finding out someone close to them back home died…and the photoshoot the next day is at a cemetery, or death themed. The one with Kahlen having to play Wrath in a coffin that was lowered into the ground stands out to me. She did great, but did they need to psychologically play with her like that to get the emotion they wanted?

"Also see: Saying you’ve been growing out your hair for 5+ years was a kiss of death in that show. Guaranteed, Tyra would give you a 'Mia Farrow in Rosemary’s Baby' if she heard that you loved your long hair."

u/ItsAndieHere

"There was always the 'topless' episode where everyone was pressured to be naked, which now just seems exploitative. I also remember instances of male models crossing the line with touching during photoshoots, and Tyra tells the girls that stopping the shoot is wrong, instead you should just flirt back and convince them to stop."

u/CorpCounsel

The CW

6.Pretty Little Liars

in "Pretty Little Liars," Ezra tells Aria he's her teacher, and she says she knows it's not just her, and he feels like this is right for them too

"I think even at the time, the teacher dating his 16-year-old student storyline was considered creepy, but in 2022, it’s honestly unbelievable that was ever portrayed in any kind of positive light. Also, that her parents didn’t immediately just report him to the police."

u/ColdFIREBaker

"Also, there were multiple other 16-year-olds kissing and dating adult men. The show really should have been set in college, not high school."

u/ettierey

Freeform

7.Desperate Housewives

Screenshot of "Desperate Housewives"

"On the same note — Desperate Housewives. Eva Longoria's character has an affair with a high schooler at the beginning of the show. And it's not showed as wrong, because he's underage — it's only wrong because she's cheating on her husband and he might find out. I recently started watching this show from the beginning for the first time, and this storyline makes me feel yucky."

u/MorphieThePup

ABC

8.Ally McBeal

Screenshots from "Ally McBeal"

Suggested by thrussie

"I saw this streaming somewhere recently and figured, 'why not?' It’s one of those shows that was so much a part of pop culture (dancing baby, anyone?), but is all but forgotten today. I couldn’t make it through the first episode."

u/lipslut

Fox

9.Gossip Girl

Screenshots from "Gossip Girl"

"When I was younger, I think I watched the whole series of Gossip Girl four times. [I] loved it. [I] watched it this year, and my god, did it make me cringe. I don’t know if it’s just a teenager show or what, but I honestly don’t recall the acting and the writing being that painfully hard to listen to or watch."

u/babyjokester

"Yes — the victim blaming when Chuck literally tries to r*pe Jenny…and then, everyone just forgets it for a while and acts like he’s just a bad boy. Then blaming Serena for 'ruining a family' or whatever when a married dude pursues her."

u/aquariussparklegirl

The CW

10.What Not to Wear

Screenshots from "What Not to Wear"

"Nothing like having your family secretly recording you when you look terrible and then gathering everyone you know to have a 'style intervention' to watch said footage while two strangers pick you apart. Then, they pressure you into throwing away all your clothes (I really hope they donated them) and then gave you enough money to buy, like, four outfits but only on their terms, and also, FUCK your personal preferences and sense of style. You have to dress like a boring adult. And I ate that shit up. Ick."

u/mandurpandur

Lifetime

11.Saved by the Bell

Zack from "Saved by the Bell" with text calling him the worst

"I didn’t think much of it until I saw Zack Morris Is Trash and it got me to think...damn, that kid was an asshole."

u/ccx941

"My wife and I rewatched this whole series on Netflix recently. One thing that bothered us was how often Kelly was dating older guys. At 15, she dated a college guy. In the Hawaiian movie (age 17), she dated a lawyer. At age 19 (in college), she dated her professor. Only the last one had the age difference brought up, and even then, they kept doing a bit. It was really a little creepy."

u/Jaleou

NBC

12.Scrubs

Screenshots from "Scrubs"

"I rewatched Scrubs recently, and I still love it, but man, some of the humor just doesn't fly now. Some pretty transphobic and homophobic stuff scattered here and there, particularly in the middle seasons."

u/godoflemmings

"90% of Scrubs holds up. Okay, maybe 80%. That other 20% is the constant early '00s 'ha gay' jokes. It's a good time capsule of the era. I don't know if a modern sitcom would have a main character say, 'Ok, so I'm a little homophobic. I'm sure you're a little racist.'"

u/Elementium

NBC

13.How I Met Your Mother

Screenshot from "How I Met Your Mother"

"I still love HIMYM, but man, a lot of the jokes have not aged well. I have it on right now, and last episode, Barney said, 'The only reason to wait a month for sex is if she’s 17 years and 11 months old.' Like, Jesus Christ, dude. Also, a lot of T-slurs and blaccents. And a shocking number of jokes about Robin being attracted to minors. Also, I’m gonna say it, Ted is a worse person than Ross. But the difference is that Ted gets rewarded almost every single time. The entire series revolves around the main characters being consistently terrible and then doing one good thing so everyone forgives them. Or like, 'Oh no, Ted is so sad because he couldn’t cheat on his girlfriend :’(,' like fuck you Ted. And fuck Robin, too. They deserved each other, and Ted's wife was too good for him. Marshall and Lily are cool, though."

u/ChewySlinky

"It’s still a bit of a comfort watch, but Barney’s character has aged like milk. You couldn’t get away with so much of the shit he said now. I think he bragged about selling a woman once? Robin and Lily are kind of pick-mes, and Ted is a creep. He literally wore Robin down for years and essentially forced her to date him. Marshall remains amazing, though."

u/Hallowmendoza

CBS

14.Friends

Screenshots from "Friends"

"Everybody loved it at the time, but when I watch it, all I see is weird drama, laugh tracks after unfunny jokes, many jokes at the expense of lesbians, and Ross being a complete asshole."

u/Losing__All__Hope

"Chandler's dad is LGBTQ. At the time, it wasn't clear if they were trans or cross dressing (and that distinction wasn't really clear in popular culture at the time), but it is played for laughs a lot. Early on, it's only played for laughs (the actual character didn't show up for a few seasons, they just kept referencing Chandler's embarrassment at his gay/cross dressing dad).

"Monica used to be fat. They put her in a fat suit and play it for laughs that this gorgeous, thin woman used to be really fat. EVERY flashback has 'Monica was fat' as a major joke punchline."

u/FunkyPete

NBC

15.House of Cards

Closeup of Kevin Spacey with text saying, "on trial this year for sexual assault"

"Not only Spacey, but the vast majority of the storylines seem ridiculous now as politicians get away with far worse things openly than what took people down in HOC. Marriage counseling?!"

u/marliepanda

Netflix

16.24

Screenshots from "24"

"It was basically a raging hard-on for torturing Muslims."

u/narcberry

"Holy shit, Jack Bauer and everyone that even gives him the time of day should get life in prison."

u/Ahrimanic-Trance

Fox

17.Wife Swap

Screenshot from "Wife Swap"

"It's full of caricatures of both conservative and liberal families and is chockfull of the highest level of cringe gender roles and toxic masculinity plot lines."

u/atmospheric90

"One of the strict Wife Swap families had a...tragic ending. A son from a strict family who was in a bluegrass band killed his brother and mother years later."

u/bvills28

ABC / Cyrus / YouTube / Via youtube.com

18.Sex and the City

Screenshots from "Sex and the City"

"A lot of views on men and sex are outdated."

u/Prettay-good

"Tfw when the main character, a sex columnist, has a whole episode about being uncomfortable that her date is bisexual and in the end can’t accept it. She was supposed to be very open-minded, too."

u/releasethekaren

HBO

19.The Man Show

Screenshots from "The Man Show"

Suggested by u/CoolIceCreamCone

"I'm still surprised that Kimmel was just given a pass on the fact that he wore blackface on The Man Show multiple times."

u/VulfSki

"Jimmy Kimmel will absolutely trash misogynists on his talk show and hold himself up as a feminist icon. Are there any clips of people on his show bringing up that every episode of The Man Show ended with several minutes of 'GIRLS JUMPING ON TRAMPOLINES!'"

u/Dad_in_Plaid

Comedy Central

20.Drake & Josh

"You want some good advice? Stop dressing like a lady!"

"I’d say Drake & Josh, and not because of Drake’s massive fuck-ups as of late. I tried watching it earlier today, and I was seeing red throughout. Josh gets shit on so unfairly hard for simply trying to be a good person. He’s always the first to help, always willing to learn, and everyone treats him like dog shit on their shoe. Helen straight up commits wage theft on him, Megan is the FUCKING devil, and if he ever tries to stand up for himself, he’s made to be the bad guy. That’s just BULLSHIT."

PokemonMaster619

"Wasn't the first episode about Drake making fun of Josh for dressing up as a girl to give advice, then uses that advice to trick a girl he likes, leading to Josh almost getting beaten up by her boyfriend, only to end with the lesson, 'You are who you are, not what you wear' (I think that was the lesson at least, that Josh didn't need to wear a dress to give advice) while ignoring what Drake did?"

u/rogash98

Nickelodeon

21.And finally, relatedly..."Any live-action Nick show from the 2000s (Drake & Josh, iCarly, Victorious, Zoey 101) produced by Dan Schneider after reading I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy."

Nickelodeon

u/strange_wilds

"Ah yes, the Underage Feet Collection."

u/Ham__Kitten

Let's try the opposite, now — what TV shows actually aged gracefully? Let us know in the comments!

Submissions have been edited for length/clarity.