How is a TV show considered dated?

As I scrolled past the many tabs indicating the era of each sitcom our class has studied and is currently studying, I wondered how much of an impact each show has had on modern society. A huge portion of our class is centered around determining this factor and, as we venture later into the decades, this question is becoming more prevalent in terms of a sitcom’s relevancy as we approach our current time period. Recently, I came across a blog by the A.V. club explaining their opinion on the matter and I found that a lot of interesting arguments were made due to their contrasting viewpoints. Link to the article here:

The blog was written as a collective, so many people were able to share their opinion on the matter. In the blog, there was a quote that really stood out to me that I had never considered before saying that, “TV’s such a reliable time capsule of whatever era it’s depicting that it’s all but impossible for a series to avoid aging”. I believe this to be true. Sitcoms have always provided a topical outlet in which people are able to relate to matters that have happened within society during that point in time. In reference to the All in the Family episode, titled “Sammy’s Visit”, Sammy Davis Jr. pays a visit to the Bunker residence. Known as an unfiltered racist, Archie still has a regressive mentality for an episode that aired in 1972; however, Archie’s blatant ignorance is constantly denounced and is actually made the laughing stock of the entire episode. Though Archie’s mentality was dated, the show itself is not.

Still from All in the Family, “Sammy’s Visit,” (Season 2, Episode 21, 1972.)

In terms of its principles, All in the Family, could not be more relevant. The Archie Bunker mentality is still apparent in modern-day society and it comes in all forms of ignorance. A similar case to this is the show, Seinfeld.

Still from Seinfeld, “The Outing,” (Season 4, Episode 17, 1993.)

When Jerry was “outed” as being gay, a constant need for justification came along with his new found reputation. Though the rumor was false, Jerry always felt the need to say, “not that there’s anything wrong with that” while attempting to secure his masculinity. With this in mind, sexuality is a very prominent topic in society as well. Though the show dates back to 1993, the topic being discussed is not any less relevant today than it was about 20 years ago. Nonetheless, when people refer to a television show as being “dated”, this term can oftentimes over shadow the actual relevancy that a show portrays and the lessons that may or may not be learned from these television shows.

-Shelby Halliman

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