I had never seen any episodes of ER before! On the recommendation of some wise ListApp friends, I am watching from the beginning. Unsurprisingly, I love it. Here are a smattering of thoughts on what sticks out like a sore thumb in Seasons 1-4, 1994-1998, when watched in 2015.
  1. AIDS
    It is such, such a big deal in the first few seasons. Not to say that it isn't important now, but certainly not with the same level of stigma or confusion that ER highlights (very elegantly, may I add) .
  2. Interracial relationships
    There are almost none! [whoa! End of Season 4 confusing me because Dr. Elizabeth Corday straight up Rachel Dolezal-ed me and is apparently white?! Still, it's being treated like a huge deal, which rarely happens on mainstream TV anymore.]
  3. People constantly walking into a chaotic scene on their way back from vacation saying, "What's going on?"
    Including one where someone accidentally walks into a toxic waste scene. Because no cell phones.
  4. Running to catch someone before they get on the train
    Because no cell phones! There is a HUGE plot point based on this.
  5. People saying "I just called you!" when they see someone
    Because NO CELL PHONES. They called the land line!
  6. Ok, actually some cell phones
    But they are only used to show how addicted someone is to their high profile job OR their gambling problem OR that they are extremely rich and they are all Zach Morris-esque bricks.
  7. So much smoking
    Everybody's smoking! Even the doctors!
  8. Mariska Hargitay as a subservient ninny stage 5 clinger
    For almost all of season 4. Liv, you're better than this.
  9. Nobody says "I'm sorry"
    The doctors VERY rarely use the words "I'm sorry," even when telling family members about a death on this show. That's wild! I can't count how many communication classes I had in medical school that stressed the importance of sincere apologies.
  10. LGBTQ
    There is one transsexual patient in season 1...and that's it.
  11. Tomagatchi
    There is legitimately a plot line about a kid's lost Tomagatchi. One of the doctors gets super into caring for it but ends up killing it lol.
  12. I have not heard the word "terrorism"
    There are bombings, there are chemical spills, there are shootings, there is a bazooka that goes off, and NOBODY even brings it up.
  13. All of the fashion
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    I mean, obviously. But please enjoy this scene from Carol's wedding.
  14. Paper records, orders, labs, etc
    Some hospitals use paper records still, but NO computers for patient care is crazy.
  15. A lot of medicine
    It's astounding how much of what was definitely gold standard in the 90s is bonkers wrong compared to what we do now. And the medicine in ER is actually fairly accurate (to a degree, duh), so it sticks out even more.
  16. Some things never change
    The racism plots; patients yelling at doctors; inter-specialty bickering; guest stars (this would be its own great list); TV shows wildly misrepresenting how medical training works and overdramatizing routine medicine.
  17. Cassette player Walkmen