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Ahh, the Flintstones, the godfather of all those ‘cave-man 1 million years BC’ tropes. Well, it may not have been the first to use these tropes, but it certainly helped popularize them. And when many people think of a prehistoric Stone Age past, this is the cartoon that comes to mind.
Yep, the cartoon that has modern day appliances made out of rocks signifies what most people think of when they hear ‘prehistory’.
For those of you who have been living under a rock your whole life (pun not intended, I swear), I’ll give you the run down of the series. It takes place in a generic prehistoric time period, where dinosaurs and mammoths and weird modern animal/reptile hybrids live. Also in the mix are cave men, but for the most part, they talk and act like typical 60’s American suburban families. They also had most of the same amenities that 60’s middle class people had, only the TV’s and cars are made of stone and the vacuum cleaner’s a tiny mammoth. The series focus on the Flintstone family; composing of Fred, a typical blue collar worker, Wilma, his wife, and their daughter Pebbles. Their friends are the Rubbles; consisting of Barney, Fred’s best friend, Betty, Barney’s wife, and their adopted son Bam Bam. The series was notable because, despite the fantastic setting, the plots were relatively low key and modern, with the characters dealing with problems only adults would really relate to. Really, when the show started out, it was actually targeted at adults more then kids, and it was only later when the really outlandish and ridiculous elements came out.
Seasonal rot, it happens to the best of us.
So, I’ll be honest, I was really having a hard time deciding how I was going to attack this thing. I knew I wanted to talk about this series, but I wasn’t sure how to go about doing it. I can’t really compare it to actual science, because I’m pretty sure most of us know that cave men didn’t really have vehicles.
At least I would hope so.
So instead, I decided to tackle how this series’ depiction of prehistoric earth has effected what people think of the Stone Age in pop culture.
So, despite the characters living in an otherwise contemporary setting and dealing with mostly contemporary problems, being set in the prehistoric past is bound to have some bearing on the plot. And it does, of course. But the way it does so makes every paleontologist cry.
I’m not going to blame this show exclusively, but works of fiction like The Flintstones have given some people a pretty strange idea of what prehistoric times. This certainly applies here, since The Flintstones basically survived on prehistory tropes.
One of the most prominent misconceptions this theory has popularized is that humans and dinosaurs lived together alongside Ice Age mammals (and not just from people with a fundamentalist viewpoint). The series does paint prehistory as one blank slate, where everything from the past all happened at one time and place. We’ve got dinosaurs…
Brontosaurus crane operators.
Is that a giant pterodactyl with feathers being used as an airplane?
Hey, when you think about it, those tufts of hair on his head could actually be feathers!
Mammoths as both vacuums…
…and shower heads.
Could you keep a sabre tooth tiger as a pet?
…weird mammal/reptile hybrids…
Why does that pig have spikes?
Why does that kangaroo have plates?
…any other prehistoric animal they could think to make appliances out of…
A bird and a turtle being used as a record player. Someone needs to call PETA on this.
…and oddly modern looking animals to boot.
Really? Monkeys too?
This has caused a lot of comparison with this show to the ideology of creationism, which is a belief that the earth is only a few thousand years old and at one point humans shared the world with dinosaurs. And when you think about it, yeah, the comparison is valid. Even with the cave men and the shows many references to evolution, the world this cartoon takes place in seems like a creationist’s wet dream.
Now, I’m certainly not one to crap on someone’s beliefs (I think that doing that is one of the douchiest things you can do and I will tolerate no religious or scientific hate in the comments section, that means no arguing against religion and no arguing against evolution), and don’t get me wrong, half of me wishes there really was a period of time that dinosaurs and man lived together. But sadly, this just isn’t the case.
You know, despite how awesome this would be.
But even without the creationist standpoint, there are still some people who have this misconception of a mish mashed prehistoric earth. These people usually don;t really have a strong opinion for or against evolution or creation, and don’t know much about prehistory besides passing knowledge, but instead get the idea that all things in history happened at one time in some ‘History Land’. Is that viewpoint really healthy?
Well, I’m going to say yes and no.
Yeah, I know you’ve heard me rant and rage again and again when prehistoric animals from different time periods are shown living together, and really, any show that has a Brontosaurus and a sabre tooth cat living in the same place should get my blood boiling. But in the end, we have to remember that this is a sitcom. It’s a humorous cartoon meant to entertain, not educate. I’ve read many a blog that got angry over this show’s scientific accuracy, but come on, it’s a show that uses dinosaurs as household appliances! It’s not supposed to be accurate, it’s just supposed to be funny.
I just want to hear some Brontosaurus rib puns, god dang it!
It’s just supposed to be a humorous depiction of a normal family in an otherwise fantastic setting, which just happens to be inspired by the past.
And full of rock puns.
The Flintstones and their little girl Pebbles are friends with the Rubbles who live in the town of Bedrock and work for a man named Mr. Slate…
THAT’S FIVE ROCK PUNS IN ONE SENTENCE THAT’S ONLY TRYING TO EXPLAIN THE SETUP!
But really, we can’t really think of this show as something that may have happened in our world. It’s their own entire universe, completely different from ours. We have to think of it that way, as it’s own world. And in the end, it’s a pretty creative one.
I know that was somewhat short, but that’s the point of these mini reviews: to get my point straight across on something I don’t think I can create a full review on.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, will I review the movie?
If I start getting desperate.
Join me next time as we do another Trope-osaurus, this time dealing with those head butting Pachycephalosaurs.
Dinosaurs and sheep. Where they the same?