The Most Shocking Parenting Scenes in 80s TV Sitcoms

Sitcoms are supposed to be uplifting, comforting, and all around a good example for families to follow. At least in the 1980’s they were. Today’s are a lot more edgy, controversial, and don’t really care if someone doesn’t like them. There are always legions of fans just lining up to watch the shows that are coming and going any longer, and the general idea of teaching life lessons no longer seems to be the driving goal. But in the 1980’s the few lines that really got noticed were those that may or may not have meant much then, but would probably raise an eyebrow or two now.

5. “I’ve never seen a black goldfish.” – Different Strokes

It’s really just alluding to the color of the goldfish, but think about how many people would take this the wrong way nowadays. Arnold and Willis were two of the most beloved child actors in their day and Arnold’s comeback, “That’s okay, he’s never seen a rich white man” would have been just as scrutinized today. It doesn’t take much to set some people off and this line has been seen to gain at least some attention.

4. “That’s the most pathetic speech I’ve ever heard.” – Family Ties

Admit it, we’re all about sensitivity now in this day and age. Even when someone really isn’t trying you’re not supposed to tell them as much to their face. You can’t just use a term such as pathetic to get your point across because you might run the risk of offending them or hurting their oh so delicate feelings. Sensitivity might be great in some cases, but it can be kind of a barrier in others.

3. “This is what my marriage to you has led to.”

There’s been lines like this and worse in sitcoms but in a family show that never seems to do any wrong this line was kind of off kilter simply because it was misunderstood. Sure the parents are a bit hassled because there’s so much to do. This doesn’t excuse the writers when it comes to lines that are supposed to be family friendly and not in any way controversial. It almost feels like the writers just kind of dropped the ball here.

2. “You know if someone doesn’t say hello to me soon you’re going to hear how big my vocabulary is.”-Gimme A Break!

Heaven forbid if an adult tries to get an adolescent’s attention. The lead in this show was never really known for pulling punches so it’s a little surprising that this line would thought of as anything but funny. But really in this day and age you can’t say two words without a hundred people scrutinizing the meaning behind it. In this scene you might as well try and add subtitles that might be seen as more appropriate.

1. “That’s the dumbest thing I ever heard in my life!” – The Cosby Show

The Cosby’s were one of the most absolutely loved families back in the day. That’s why this line seems so out of left field because Cliff never really expressed that much passion when it came to deriding his kids. He would be hard on them when he had to, but this seemed almost antagonistic in a way. Of course it’s got to be remembered that Theo kind of wanted to skate by in life a lot of times, so it’s understandable how any parent would finally get a little fed up.

It’s a little difficult to think that these lines would ever be a problem considering the content of today’s sitcoms. It just bears reminding that in the 1980’s sitcoms were actually expected to be wholesome.



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