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Old 09-14-2002, 06:49 PM
ratty is offline
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: SE PA
Posts: 730
I suppose what really seems dated to me is how futuristic technology was portrayed in various movies. Sci-fi from the 50's and 60's always had space ships with fins on them, while in the 70's, it was all about space ships in strange shapes. In the 80's, it seemed like everything electronic or mechaical had to be in the shape of a cube. And let's not forget those super-computers sci-fi movies were always showing, those giant silver filing cabinets with flashing red lights on them. And the HUGE display screens.

I guess what really makes movies and TV shows dated is how big everything seems- look at the cutting edge cellular phones from the late 80's- they weigh about 10 pounds. Cars were huge, hair was huge. Sometime in the early 90's people figured out the wave of the future was to make everything smaller, not bigger. Now in movies you see tiny computers, tiny spy devices. Even old James Bond gadgets seem clunky compared to today. I imagine in twenty years we'll be having this discussion again and everything will still seem to be the wrong size in old movies and TV shows, either too big or small.

Social conventions can be jaw-droppingly dated, as well. Look at the crinoline 'house dresses' in shows like Donna Reed and Leave It To Beaver. It would have been sort of shocking to see women in pants on television then, I suppose. And the seperate beds for married couples! They were all over TV and movies until maybe the late 60's. The crazy thing is, nobody in real life who was married actually had double beds. But I guess seeing even straight, married couples with children in the same bed would have offended some people and been called 'indecent'.

And the racist stereotypes! Holy shit! They were not only completely acceptable, they were believed! The madness! Things that many people would find utterly offensive today were displayed openly and without any reservation. Remember Three's Company? The whole premise of the show was John Ritter pretending to be gay so he could stay in the apartment with two women. And this was hilarious. Because being gay was so weird for mainstream America. It was so unheard of in mainstream circles that the show didn't even know how to stereotype gay people. (Which may actually have been a good thing.)

It seems like TV and movies made a complete reversal somewhere in the early 90's- sex, violence, and profanity became acceptable, but any sort of racial/religious/gender-based/sexual-orientation-based/ethnic stereotyping or mocking were completely unallowed. (Well, basically unallowed. I don't watch much TV anymore, but I'm sure there are stil offensive shows of this ilk out there somewhere.) It kind of boggles the mind. I wonder what will seem dated in five, ten, and twenty years?