Home > Critical Thinking, Current Affairs, Dystopia, Musings, Philosophy sans Sophistry, Reason, Secular Religions, Skepticism > Movies and Television Shows Made Before Mid-2000s Were Relatable

Movies and Television Shows Made Before Mid-2000s Were Relatable

As readers know, recently, I have been writing posts about how western countries (especially its LIEbrals) are rapidly losing all touch with all physical reality. And this got me thinking.. is there an easier and quicker way to show you that the overall mindset in western countries has moved away from dealing with reality. While there are multiple possibilities, one stands out for its simplicity and ease of confirmation. Some time ago, I had an interesting epiphany about older films and TV shows while watching copies of them on YouTube. The very short version of them is as follows: films and TV shows made before the mid-2000s had characters who looked far more normal, inhabited far more normal environments and had storylines that were much closer to reality than films and shows made after early-to mid-2000s.

Confused? Aren’t films and TV (or cable) shows always supposed to contain an embellished or idealized representation of reality? Well.. yes, of course. However, even the most fictionalized and idealized depictions of reality in older films and TV shows are much closer to reality than the absurd crap that has produced over past 15 years. And yes.. this is not just a Hollywood, TV show or NetFlix thing- since the same problem is obvious in video games. But before you are confused any further, let me take you through a few examples of what I am talking about.

Let us start by talking about what many consider one of the most unrealistic but popular TV shows of the 1990s and early 2000s- “Friends”. Even causally searching for that show on the internet today will lead you to tons of articles about how that show was unrealistic because its characters lived in very large NYC apartments, cast was too white or too good looking etc. However, I disagree with most of these criticisms, and here is why. Other that being able to afford large apartments in NYC on average wages, most of the underlying dynamics of that show was based in reality. Tell me something.. how many middle/ upper-middle class white people have real black or non-white friends, even in 2021.

While the central characters of that show were reasonably good looking actors, they were certainly not super-model grade. More importantly the dilemmas faced by characters, their actions as well as their environment was surprisingly close to reality- especially compared to similar but new TV, cable and Netflix shows being broadcast or streamed today. Even shows such as ‘Beverley Hills 90210’ and ‘Melrose Place’ were inhabited by more far more normal-looking characters than their current equivalents. Yes.. even those shows. Or look the rather ordinary looking decor on shows such as ‘Seinfeld’, ‘Home Improvement’, ‘King of Queens, ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’, ‘3rd Rock from Sun’ or even ‘Frasier’.

My point is that zany storylines notwithstanding, the world inhabited by characters in shows before pre-2003 shows felt real in a way that the shows made in past 15 years do not. Even the environment in 90s fantasy shows such as ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’, ‘X-Files’, ‘Twilight Zone’ or ‘Outer Limits’ feel real in a way their modern equivalents do not. Heck.. even the highly exaggerated characters in ‘Married with Children’ feel real in a way which those in ‘Modern family’ do not- because the motivations of the former were based in reality in a way the later was not. And this goes problem goes far beyond a couple of genres. Compare the first 5-6 seasons of ‘NYPD Blue’ or ‘ER’ to their utterly ridiculous modern day equivalents such as all those ‘Law and Order’ spinoffs and knockoffs or ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ or ‘House’.

Or compare late night talk shows from the 1990s and early 2000s (Leno, Letterman, pre-2005 O’Brien, Craig Ferguson etc) to their current equivalents. In spite of being just as formulaic, they appealed to a far broader demographic and had far less irritating gimmicks or politically opinionated bullshit that their current equivalents. They did not pretend to be anything beyond light entertainment to help you sleep, see a celebrity or catch up on some amusing news. Or think about animated shows such as first 9 seasons of ‘The Simpsons’, ‘King of the Hill’, ‘Beavis and Butt-Head’, ‘Daria’ etc had storylines that were understandable or sorta relatable. Even an absurdist cartoon such as ‘Futurama’ was relatable in ways that ‘Family Guy’ or ‘American Dad’ aren’t. This holds for almost all modern adult-oriented cartoon shows.

Moving on to movies. compare the looks and physique look at the average (or median) movie actor in the pre-2005 era to those today. Sure.. many of the chicks probably had eating disorders and a couple of implants and nosejob, but they looked far closer to what you saw in everyday life (especially if you lived in a large city) than the type of people you see in movies today. Don’t believe me? Just go through almost any movie made before 2005, commercially successful or not, and compare them to movies made in past 15 years. You will immediately notice that a lot of movie stars and supporting cast in those older movies look far closer to what you might see in your daily life than the type of people cast in newer movies.

And this extends to the set decor of the movies, whether you are talking about exterior and interior of houses, interior of offices and other non-residential buildings, lighting and ambiance and much more. Even the story-lines of those older movies have far fewer superheros, comic-book fantasy elements, nor were there so many reboots, prequels and sequels. My point is that the world depicted in pre-2005 movies (which are supposed to escapist fantasies anyway) just feel far more realistic, naturally grimy, lived-in and imperfect than the unrealistically clean or dirty, hyper-colorful and semi-cartoonish looking worlds seen in post-2005 movies, even those which are not full of comic book superheros and CGI creatures.

What do you think? Comments?

  1. doldrom
    June 13, 2021 at 10:19 am

    Agree, but hardly think this is the self-evident litmus test you’re looking for … too much a function of judgement.

    What I find most noticeable about all the more recent entertainment is the widely unlikely demographics: Full of wise old black women in charge of hospitals and police precincts, nerdy women upending the tech and technical forensics, teams that are completely homogenized racial/sexual stocks, women outrunning criminals and wrestling them into handcuffs (how many policeman do you think can catch a kid running away in the ghetto, let alone women). It screws around with the necessary ‘suspension of disbelief’ required to follow the story. When bullets start bouncing off flesh or cars suddenly fly (you get it), you have stretched credulity beyond the ability of the audience to identify with the protagonist. Even a Chinese license plate is enough to throw things off if it’s a police chase. You have to limit the unlikely events to things like the hero not being hit when others go down or a chance romantic interest that would never sustain normal social realities, or plain girls having more appearance than first meets the eye, etc etc, depending on the genre.

    • Ubermensch
      June 16, 2021 at 1:57 am

      In the show “Vikings” in one of the last seasons, you had a group of old women and kids win against a group of young and experienced men in a fight. Quite comical.

      • Poopface McGhee
        June 16, 2021 at 10:30 am

        In the alt right, weak “men” like Dickie Spencer and Jack Donovan are teaching racist, str8 white gys that a pecker in their p[ooper is “masculine.” Guess these a$$holes weren’t really straight to begin with. But I guess that explains, or as Dickie says it essplains why white guys are the largest demographic of the aids epidemic since the beginning of the pandemic. Enjoy that protein slurp “Ubermensch.”

      • Ubermensch
        June 17, 2021 at 3:39 am

        the alt right is a bunch of cucks

      • Poopface McGhee
        June 17, 2021 at 10:31 am

      • Arjun
        June 17, 2021 at 11:09 am

        Link to picture


      • Arjun
        June 17, 2021 at 3:03 pm


        merely a test to see how *ubermensch* would react. But I guess it shows that you are some kinda puritan.

        In that case you should have posted that photo as a meme, or something similar.

  2. Dissident Regressor
    June 13, 2021 at 10:56 pm

  3. Indian Supremacist
    June 14, 2021 at 12:15 am

    Today is the birth day of our lord and saviour, Orange Man! 🍊

    • Mike CaCa
      June 14, 2021 at 10:40 am

      I just saw this horrid pronography…

      They made us liberals look like loony toonies!

  4. June 14, 2021 at 11:18 am

    Regarding movies post 2000, it seems a lot of modern movies copy the American Psycho aesthetic – the bland piano motifs, flat-affect narration and characters, also as mentioned the dull set decor. Not even faithful to the source material – in the book Patrick Bateman had a Wurlitzer jukebox, also his apartment and office in the film don’t reflect the decorating styles of the late 80s, they’re exactly what you would expect to see in an apartment or office in 2021.

    You’re on the money about Friends. It wasn’t my thing growing up, but I came to appreciate it much more after watching its 2010s attempted equivalent New Girl. I shut it off when one episode started with the main cast wrestling on the floor fighting over a phone charger. Not good writing.

  5. Minecraft Steve
    June 15, 2021 at 11:45 pm

    1. Hollywood sees itself as a dictator of culture.

    2. Hollywood is a heavily nepotistic system.

    3.The culture of Hollywood is leftist.

    What follows from points 1 and 2 is that every successive generation of entertainment industry decision makers are increasingly removed from the daily affairs, concerns and ethos of their target market. A group that sees itself as dictator of cultural standards is prone to a self-referential feedback loop, where it either tokenizes or outright ignores all things beyond itself and its values. In addition, generational wealth has a compounding effect measured not just in money, but cultural distance.

    Combining this with point 3, we have a situation where a system that is almost engineered to lose touch with its host society, is guided by a philosophical lodestone that is predicated on ignorance of hard reality in favor of utopian visions. You get people in the driver’s seat who got there primarily because of who they knew (or were born to) and what ideological dogma they embraced.

    The early media moguls discovered that to understand their audience was to tap a gold mine.

    The preceding generation of media leaders had some semblance of an idea what their audiences wanted and understood the need to pay deference to it in their work.

    The current generation operates on a malformed understanding of this relationship, and thinks it can operate independently and with impunity. What’s more, it is afflicted by both a disgust for its audience, and a sense that it has the unilateral and unstoppable power to transform that audience into something more ideologically palatable.

    Thus, you see these woke reboots of old franchises, with thinly veiled propaganda wearing the beloved characters of the past like a skinsuit. The effect is almost cargo cult like -with modern creatives aping the motions and aesthetic of successful past works without any understanding of what made them so appealing.

    • Minecraft Steve
      June 16, 2021 at 12:08 am


      What do you see in the recent antics of Mr. Stewart? Is he hamming it up with righteous indignation as part of a necessary narrative pivot? Or perhaps is it a man who came to his position from his connections realizing the horrific corruption of the system that blessed him? The other man, Mr. Colbert, had no such connections. He paid his way in by having a special talent – not humor, there are thousands who can do that – no, the ability to unflinchingly, unfailingly, unquestioningly push whatever narrative is needed. Notice his reaction, notice his behavior. When you are a noble, you can make mistakes, but when you have crawled up to power, you can afford no such luxury.

  6. John
    June 20, 2021 at 1:37 am

    This whole blogpost was such a pathetic writeup.

  7. MikeCA
    June 23, 2021 at 11:52 am

    TV programming has evolved. In the 1970s & 80s TV suddenly had to compete with the VCR and then DVDs for eyeballs. This hit the HBO/Showtime pay channels the hardest. They had to start creating their own original programming. HBO/Showtime realized that they were not constrained by broadcast limits on language, nudity, sex and themes. They did not have to worry about advertisers or really even how many people watched their shows. They needed one or two mega-hits shows that would make people sign up for the channel or not cancel. They wanted shows that would create buzz and could win awards, even if not that many people actually watched them. They created programming that appealed to niche audiences.

    One of the land mark shows was HBO’s The Sopranos, a show centered around an antihero. There was of course Sex and the City with frank female discussion of sex. These programs I think changed the landscape of TV. TV audiences changed. They wanted more edgy programming.

    TV in 1970s and 80s was designed to draw the broadest audience to deliver the most eyeballs for the advertisers. There were 4 networks + PBS to choose from. Almost all of it was designed to appeal to mass audiences. HBO/Showtime changed the formula to draw away more niche audiences. Last time I had cable TV (which was 3 or 4 years ago) there were a hundred or more cable TV channels, many of them programming to appeal to some niche audience. Now with streaming, there are huge numbers of channel options looking for a niche. Broadcast TV is now competing against all these niche programming options and has tried to make its programming more edgy to keep eyeballs. Like the HBO/Showtime cable networks, the streaming sites do not have to worry about eyeballs so much, they need to worry about media buzz and subscribers.

    I honestly have only watched a few ScFi programs on broadcast TV in the last 30 years. I find most of the programs you mentioned too boring to watch.

    • Fuque
      June 23, 2021 at 2:53 pm

      but like a good LIEbral you watched Home Body Odor because Bill Maher. Amirite?

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