Old Sitcoms With Dialogue, Wardrobes, And Antics That Wouldn’t Fly On Primetime Television Today

There was once a time when primetime television didn’t mean reality shows, it meant laughing along to sitcoms and various talk shows. Series such as Star Trek and Charlie’s Angels ruled the screen. But, the truth of the matter is a lot of the shows from the ’50s through the ’80s wouldn’t fly today.

From scantily clad women in the workplace to jokes that haven’t aged well, there are more than a few sitcoms and talk shows that would have to be censored if they were to air in today’s world. Keep scrolling; it won’t take long to see what we mean.

Wonder Woman Played To The Male Demographic

Wonder Woman Playing Towards The Male Demographic
ABC
ABC

In 1975, Wonder Woman leaped off the pages of DC Comics, into ABC’s studio, and then onto television screens across the United States. Starring the lovely Lynda Carter, the series went on to become very popular. But, according to Carter, she had to play to the audience of the superhero genre: men.

Although the hero is an Amazonian princess and therefore should have been catering to women, Carter knew she had to play up her looks in order for the show to be successful. Ironically, critics still weren’t happy! Talk about a double standard, considering that Superman wasn’t exactly modest.

Charlie’s Angels Wasn’t As Feminist As It Thought

charlies angels
ABC
ABC

From September 22, 1976, to June 24, 1981, people tuned in to ABC to watch Kate Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, and Jaclyn Smith fight crime as the iconic trio on Charlie’s Angels. And while some of the actresses were recast, one thing didn’t change through the show’s five-season run: the clothing. And let us say, the garment choices would not fly today.

With feminist movements at an all-time high, most women would not appreciate the wardrobe choices on the three leading ladies in a “male” industry. We mean, come on, who can be in law enforcement while worrying about a wardrobe malfunction? Answer: no one.

Battle Of The Network Stars Left Nothing To The Imagination

Battle Of The Network Stars Left Nothing To The Imagination
Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images
Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Even if you’re not a sports fan, if you were around for the 1976 through 1988 Battle of the Network Stars competition, then you know it was a whole other can of worms. The premise of the show had three major networks, ABC, CBS, and NBC, television stars compete in various sporting events, Olympic-style.

It sounds harmless enough for it to still be on-air today. But throw in the actresses’ wardrobes and the odd events they participated in, and it becomes clear why it wouldn’t work in today’s day and age. Nothing was left to the imagination. We’ll just stick to Jeopardy and Family Feud.

Married With Children Needs Updated Jokes

Married With Children Needs Updated Jokes
Fox
Fox

In the late ’80s, Married…with Children was one of the more popular sitcoms on Fox. It followed a typical American family through their trials and tribulations. And while it’s always good to have a show people can relate to, this one wouldn’t make it five seconds on the air today.

Especially if Al Bundy’s dialogue wasn’t cleaned up a bit, because, in the show, he is portrayed as a very crude dude, talking trash and making vulgar jokes about everyone under the sun. Today, no one would care that he was once a star high school football player. They’d just want him off their television screen.

There Were Anti-Feminist Themes In I Dream Of Jeannie

Barbara Eden's Attire In I Dream Of Jeannie
NBC
NBC

In 1965, I Dream of Jeannie‘s first episode aired on NBC. It became wildly popular, with Barbara Eden’s Jeannie being a huge hit among viewers. The 2,000-year-old wish granter was intriguing, but she wouldn’t fly in this day and age for a couple of reasons.

First off, she was made to call her husband “master” while granting his every desire. Not to mention it was “love at first sight” for her and her soon-to-be husband. The anti-feminist themes would have to be cleaned up a bit if this were to air in the modern age.

Carol Wayne On The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson

Carol Wayne On The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson
NBC
NBC

Carol Wayne was all over TV during the ’60s and ’70s, making appearances in numerous popular programs, such as Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, and I Spy. But her most well-known performance is arguably her role as Matinée Lady in Johnn Carson’s Art Fern’s Tea Time Movie skit.

While talk shows are still very popular today, there are a few things networks are more aware of, such as when someone should be covered up appropriately and how many double entendres are too many. This is especially true if the phrases are risque enough to make Hugh Hefner blush!

The Dukes Of Hazzard Didn’t Age Well

Dukes
Warner Bros. Television
Warner Bros. Television

The lyrics “good ol’ boys, never meanin’ no harm” on The Dukes of Hazzard came to CBS in 1979. Following the antics of Luke Duke and Bo Duke, the series was full of adventures, namely involving running form the law. And while that sounds like a fun show, it wouldn’t make it on the air today.

The show has the two men driving around in a truck named “General Lee,” and they also have a big confederate flag painted on its roof. Let’s just say those two things would have to be changed if this shoe ever wanted to do a modern-day reboot.

A Young SuperGirl Wouldn’t Fly Today (Pun Intended)

A Young SuperGirl Wouldn't Fly Today (Pun Intended)
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

The film Supergirl hit theaters in 1984, with the star being a young Helen Slater as the title character. And while nothing looks too out-of-sorts with the character, there is something that wouldn’t be okay with networks today, especially when a form-fitting superhero outfit is part of the deal.

Slater was only 18-years-old when she landed the role of Supergirl, just turning 19 when everything wrapped up. It may seem silly, considering she was “an adult” at the time, but playing a 24-year-old right out of high school is typically a no-no.

Maude‘s Behavior Wouldn’t Do Well With Primetime Audiences

Maude's Behavior Wouldn't Do Well With Primetime Audiences
CBS
CBS

The 1972 CBS sitcom Maude was well ahead of its time. But that doesn’t mean that it’s meant for modern times, either. The show is centered around Maude, a liberal feminist who isn’t afraid to speak her mind. Well, that’s perfectly fine with the youth of today, but its the lead character’s other vices that aren’t compatible with primetime television.

While Maude is very attuned to the climate of today’s progressive atmosphere (for the most part), the network would have to clean up a few aspects of her life. Either that or they would have to move the program to another studio, perhaps HBO.

The Jeffersons’ Offensive Dialogue

The Jeffersons Offensive Dialogue
CBS
CBS

The Jeffersons started its run in 1975 on CBS. It would go on to become one of the longest-running sitcoms in history, with 11 seasons and 253 episodes. And while the show made history, it would be hard-pressed to find a slot on primetime television today.

This is primarily because of the dialogue of one character, George. The character is a loud-mouth and doesn’t care who knows it. And when it comes to his thoughts on the interracial coupling of Tom and Helen Willis, the types of jokes and lingo George used would most certainly be a no-go in primetime today.

Bosom Buddies Wouldn’t Work In Today’s Climate

Bosom Buddies
ABC
ABC

Believe it or not, Bosom Buddies is the show that helped jump-start the career of the one and only Tom Hanks. Airing on ABC in 1980, the show followed the lives of Kip and Henry, two men who decide to dress in drag in order to stay at a cheaper, all-female hotel.

Today, there would be more than one question about gender inequality, stereotypes, and why the “dirt-cheap” all-female hotel happened to be named the Susan B. Anthony Hotel. While we love a good comedy show, this one most likely wouldn’t get on the air today.

The Honeymooners Catchphrase Would Need To Change

The Honeymooners Catchphrase Would Need To Change
CBS
CBS

While The Honeymooners was a popular sitcom for people to laugh along to in the ’50s, it would only bring gasps and low ratings today. The comedic antics of Ralph Kramden and Alice during their day-to-day lives were a huge selling point for viewers. But, today, there are a few things that would be frowned upon.

The main thing that would have to be censored in this sitcom is Kramden’s signature catchphrase, “One of these days Alice–pow! Straight to the Moon!” Today, if a show had a man say that to a woman after she spoke her mind, it wouldn’t last one more episode.

The Jokes Throughout Sanford And Son

The Jokes Throughout Sanford And Son
NBC
NBC

Beginning in 1972, at the time, Sanford and Son was considered revolutionary and groundbreaking in the world of television. With great ratings and reviews from critics, it makes one wonder why this show wouldn’t fly on a primetime network today.

Well, it’s because of the Archie Bunker/George Jefferson-esque character of Fred G. Sanford. The character was known to drop one too many slurs during his screentime. And that is something that would not be tolerated by NBC viewers today.

F-Troop‘s Stereotypes And Bad Casting

F-Troop Stereotypes And Has Bad Casting
ABC
ABC

F-Troop aired on ABC in 1965, depicting the Old West, rangers, and Native Americans. While Westerns were coming down from their peak in the ’50s, people were still interested in the satirical sitcom.

Of course, there are a few factors throughout the show that would have people protesting in the streets if it were to air on TV. Primarily, people would frown at the actors who played the parts of Native Americans, as they were not natives. To top it off, the characters were horribly stereotyped, with their names and broken English. F-Troop would really have to clean up its act to air on primetime today.

Behind The Scenes Of The Brady Bunch

Behind The Scenes Of The Brady Bunch
ABC
ABC

The Brady Bunch was one of the premier series during the late ’60s and early ’70s. And while people couldn’t get enough of “the perfect family,” some things were going on behind the scenes that wouldn’t fly today, things that would result in a huge publicity scandal and a recasting.

Oh, Marcia, Marcia, Marcia. The actress who played the eldest Brady daughter, Maureen McCormick, had a few secrets no one knew. Pretty much, she was the exact opposite of Marcia and liked to have nights out on the town. Let’s just say she did a few things that would make front-page news today.

Johnny Carson Openly Flirting With Robyn Hilton

carson-hylton
NBC
NBC

It’s not a secret that Blazing Saddles actress Robyn Hilton is gorgeous. During the 70s, she was in wonderful shape, had blonde hair that made women jealous, and a voice that brought men to their knees shamelessly flirting. And while all of that as fine on the silver screen, the latter wouldn’t work during talk shows today.

On January 17, 1974, Hilton appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, where the host shamelessly flirted with the actress. If you know anything about Carson, then you know he keeps it professional. Well, that poise went out the window. His behavior would not be okay with today’s viewers.

Heather Locklear Occasionally Popped Up When Viewership Was Down

Heather Locklear
Aaron Rapoport/Corbis/Getty Images
Aaron Rapoport/Corbis/Getty Images

Heather Locklear is what one would call a “product of the ’80s.” She had everything going for her: looks, talent, and viewer appreciation. So, it wasn’t uncommon to see her pop up every now and again in various shows when a little facelift or revamp was needed.

Of course, if that happened today, people would catch on that the studio was randomly throwing in a scantily-clad actress into the plot every five episodes. Well, we mean, they could try, but nothing really gets past audience members nowadays. Starbucks cup in Game of Thrones, anyone?

Amos N’ Andy Was Protested Then As It Would Be Now

Freeman Gosden, (Amos) is shown left, simulating the part of the kingfish, while Charles Correll, at right, bellows out the part of Andy.
Bettmann / Contributor
Bettmann / Contributor

Unlike other shows on this list, Amos N’ Andy didn’t start as a television project but rather a skit for talk show radio that aired from 1928 through 1960. In that timeline, the series aired on CBS, with the hope that it would be just as popular as the radio show.

It wasn’t. There was public outrage over the characterization of the African-American characters, which were played by white actors in blackface makeup. Although Black actors were hired for the television version, white men still voiced the characters. The show’s racist portrayals led to protests… which is exactly what would happen today if this show was aired.

Star Trek’s “Shore Leave” Episode Would Be Taken Out

Star Trek's
NBC
NBC

In September of 1966, the world set off aboard the USS Enterprise with the first installment of what would become the Star Trek franchise. And while the series was mystical, taking people into the unknown world of space, there are a few things that wouldn’t work today.

First and foremost, the episode “Shore Leave” would most likely be taken out altogether. Specifically the parts with actress Emily Banks. She’s not even part of the main cast, only appearing in that one episode for her pin-up looks. Needless to say, she was there to give viewers something to look at and nothing else.

Gidget‘s Portrayal Of California Teenagers

Gidget's Portrayal Of California Teenagers
Screen Gems
Screen Gems

In 1965, Sally Field introduced the world to Gidget, a California teenager who wanted to chase boys and catch waves. Of course, Field captured the hearts of many Americans with her beach-bunny attitude, cute bathing suits, and end-of-the-episode morals. But there are a few things people today wouldn’t be too keen on.

We’d bet money that people from California wouldn’t be too happy with the stereotypical lingo and mentality the characters in the series portrayed. It’s one thing to say a show is set somewhere and another to exploit the people who actually live there. Oh, and a 14-year-old strolling around in a bikini would most likely be frowned upon, too.