From ‘Friends’ to ‘Baywatch,’ These 6 Cult-Favorite TV Shows Haven’t Aged Well

For pop-culture fans all over the world, a beloved TV series can provide comfort, happiness, and relaxation. Many of these classic television shows have remained enduringly popular over the years, even decades after they went off the air. Still, as a recent report from Insider points out, a number of cult-classic television shows haven’t aged well, and many of them feature distinctly problematic storylines and plot points. 

Friends cast Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay, Matt LeBlanc as Joey Tribbiani, Courteney Cox as Monica Geller, Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing, Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green, David Schwimmer as Ross Geller
Cast of ‘Friends’ | Reisig & Taylor/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

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Friends ran on television from 1994 until 2004. The series focused on a group of thirty-something friends who lived and worked in New York City. It was responsible for making a star out of actress Jennifer Aniston, and to this day, it remains a massive fan-favorite with fans of all ages.

Still, as the Insider.com report points out, the series might not be so well-received today. Most notably, Friends featured some homophobic storylines and with the way that Monica was teased for being overweight in her younger years, fans of the body-positive movement would find a lot to take issue with.

‘Two and a Half Men’ was slammed by critics

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Two and a Half Men was a television mainstay for years, solidifying Charlie Sheen’s status as a cult icon. Featuring supporting actors like Jon Cryer and Angus T. Jones, Two and a Half Men went through several iterations over the years, replacing Sheen with Ashton Kutcher in the later years of the show. While the show had lots of fans, it was frequently slammed by critics who called the show “gross” for the plethora of raunchy jokes and situations.

‘I Dream of Jeannie’ is not a feminist-friendly series

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A ’60s classic television show, I Dream of Jeannie starred Barbara Eden as Jeannie, a magical seductress who lived with a human man, granting his every wish — and frequently confounding and confusing him. The show is undoubtedly a fun romp, and was considered to be groundbreaking at the time due to the special effects — but as the Insider.com report reveals, Jeannie is portrayed as being submissive to her male “master,” an attitude that would certainly not go over well with women today. 

‘Baywatch’ has been slammed for being sexist

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Baywatch is a cult-classic TV show, a series that catapulted Pamela Anderson to fame and is single-handedly responsible for the popularity of one-piece red bathing suits. The show featured lots of eye candy in the form of fit lifeguards running in slow-motion through a beach landscape – but this very reason, and the fact that the women were more frequently featured in skimpy suits than their male counterparts, is partially why the show would probably never make it on the air today. 

Why is ‘The Dukes of Hazzard’ considered problematic?

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Fans all around the world know who Daisy Duke is, thanks in part to the reboot film that starred Jessica Simpson. Older pop-culture fans will likely remember the original The Dukes of Hazzard TV series, which ran on television in the ’70s. The show might have seemed like a fun-filled romp through Southern culture and landscapes, but as Time once pointed out, the show’s inclusion of the Confederate flag as a Southern symbol could be seen as offensive to many viewers. 

‘Home Improvement’ has some macho overtones

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Few classic sitcoms are as beloved as Home Improvement. The ’90s era show starred Tim Allen as Tim “the Toolman” Taylor, as well as a slew of other popular character actors. As popular as the show has proven to be with fans who remember it from its original run, however, some media outlets have pointed out that the show has some problematic elements — most notably, Tim’s seeming fascination with all things macho. In fact, some episodes feature Tim trying to drill traditionally “masculine” traits into his sons, rather than less traditional pursuits like ballet.