Unpopular Opinions: The Jetsons

Usually I like to start these segments with a clever little intro that segue ways into the main point, but this time I can’t think of any way to sugar-coat this particular thesis, so I’m just going to come right out and say it…

Jetsons

The Jetsons is boring.

There, I said it.

I know that it’s considered a classic cartoon. I know that it’s a staple of Hanna-Barbera. I know that many people regard it as iconic. But it’s still as dull as dishwater. The stories are dull. The characters are dull. The jokes are dull. And the depiction of the World of Tomorrow (TM) is really, really dull. The latter is particularly puzzling, since distant future settings are usually cool. We here at Twinsanity love the Utopian future setting (as referenced in “The Future Rocks!”) but on The Jetsons there’s absolutely nothing you’d find fun to watch.

Alien on Hoverboard

Where are the cool aliens?

Hoverboard

Where are the hoverboards?

coloured-robot-design_1148-9

Where’s the cool future tech?

Where’s the mind-boggling science fiction stuff? The only remotely cool thing on The Jetsons is the flying cars. That’s it. You can’t even fall back on the appeal of the show’s main cast, since the titular characters are likewise as dull as a plain dry piece of toast. Sure, Elroy’s smart and Judy’s nice to look at, but the show didn’t even mine those elements for all they could.

Yeah, when HB brought the show back in syndication in the 80’s, they added a new character, Orbitty…

Orbitty

…And what did he add to the show? I’ll tell you:

zero

Absolutely nothing.

-It should probably be mentioned that like it’s predecessor The Flintstones, which was basically just The Honeymooners in animated form, cross-pollinated with the Tex Avery MGM short The First Bad Man, The Jetsons is similarly based on an existing fictional staple, Blondie.

Blondie_Logo_2007

More accurately, the Blondie radio show and theatrical films starring Penny Singleton and Arthur Lake (Fun Fact: Singleton was the original voice of Jane Jetson).

Penny_Singleton_Arthur_Lake_Blondie_1944

So the show was basically Blondie in the future. Fair enough, but here’s the thing…

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I thought Blondie was like watching paint dry as well! Who at HB thought that would be a good franchise to co-opt? You know your show is boring when even putting it in the Space Age can’t make it interesting.

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Granted, The Flintstones wasn’t all that great either, but that show at least had some semi-interesting characters, the occasional kind-of funny joke and it had the whole fan service thing to fall back on, so if you like dinosaurs, dudes and chicks in skins and humorous acts of animal cruelty, you can watch for those things, even if you didn’t care about the stories.

How can you have a show set in the distant future without anything fun in it? Other shows and movies have done cool stuff with that setting:

Meet the Robinsons

We only got brief glimpses of the future society in Meet the Robinsons (in fact the book the movie was loosely based on, A Day with Wilbur Robinson, didn’t even involve the future or time travel), but what we saw of it, with its’ colorful architecture (including Insta-Buildings), transportation bubbles and flying time machines, was more interesting than anything we saw on The Jetsons.

todayland

See, that’s funny.

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A lot of the things depicted on Futurama didn’t make sense (and the show’s writers have openly admitted that a lot of it didn’t make sense), but Futurama was still cool, fun and interesting.

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Heck, even the late CBS Saturday morning cartoon Project G.eeK.eR. was more interesting than The Jetsons, and that show only lasted a single season. Project G.eeK.eR. gave us a really odd, wild, wacky and cool future setting with a dazzlingly quirky mix of human, alien, animal and robotic worlds: THAT show had a future city straight out of Blade Runner. It had artificially created super men with amazing powers. It had cyborgs. It had cool aliens. It had genetically modified humanoid dragon gangsters. It had mutated monsters. It had a space station. It had evolved talking dinosaurs who lived in a hidden dinosaur city (it turns out the dinos didn’t go extinct, they were merely hiding). It had a sentient super-intelligent strain of the common cold. It had a mad scientist mastodon voiced by Charlie Adler who floated around via an anti-gravity belt! Now THAT is interesting!

PF2200AD

Even The Partridge Family: 2200 A.D. had a couple of alien characters with quirky shticks and the family’s dog was a robot, which was kind of interesting.

Speaking of, did you know that The Partridge Family: 2200 A.D. was originally going to be a Jetsons sequel series? T’is true. It was originally planned by HB as a follow-up to the original Jetsons series a la Pebbles & Bamm-Bamm, featuring Elroy as a teenager and Judy as an adult reporter, but when the idea was pitched to then CBS president Fred Silverman, he opted to swap out the Jestons for animated versions of the Partridge Family instead. Why?

conspiracy_nut

NO ONE REALLY KNOWS.

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-Personally, I’m guessing Silvy found The Jetsons as boring as I do!

 

 

Nerdvana: The Future Rocks!

Today, I’m going to be discussing one of my favorite settings in fiction, the future!

FutureCity-1

Now, there are typically two types of futuristic settings; a utopian future where everything is good, and the dystopian future where everything sucks. On a side note, I still haven’t seen Mad Max: Fury Road, although people have told me that it’s good. I’ll have to see that movie sometime, but since I don’t like focusing on bleak and dark things, I’m only going to be talking about the former here. That said…

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Into the time machine!

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“Here we go!”

Fast Forward button

 

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“Welcome to Cyber City, 3000 AD. We’ve cured all known diseases. There’s no more war, pollution or poverty. All of the world’s nations have merged into one. 75 is middle aged. People stop aging physically after age 25, so everyone is young and hot, and candy is good for you.”

La Bamba 3000

“In the year 3000…in the year 3000…”

Planet Earth has since become the great galactic melting pot (save for Mars, which is similar to how Canada used to be). Racial prejudice isn’t really a thing anymore thanks to gene splicing being legalized.

DCSHG Cheetah

“I’m a wildcat! RAWR!”

The dominant human race on Earth is now Polypolaisan, a new race that’s developed after centuries of interracial mixing and breeding. Not surprisingly, the women of this race are…

the-mask1

“…SMOKIN’!!”

Future Sim City 2

Cyber City is a cosmopolis, taking up an entire 1/6 of the Earth’s surface. Despite it being highly technologically advanced, there are numerous trees, plants, grass and wildlife, all interwoven into the city’s structure and architecture. This is partly because over the millenia, mankind has learned to care for and nurture their Mother Earth, and also because defacing or polluting the ecosystem in any way shape or form, from littering to graffiti, is punishable by death. And yes, this law is strictly enforced.

Captain-Planet-Learning-Garden-Schools-logo

“PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT, OR I’LL %#$@ING KILL YOU!!

Let’s just take a moment to look at some of the things that Star Trek predicted which the show got right:

Star Trek communicator

flip phones and bluetooth…

Miss Martian - DCSHG

…and of course, green women being hot.

World Peace has been achieved a while ago, largely due to the machinations of the planet’s first hyper-intelligent gorilla ambassador.

winston-gameplay

“You’re welcome!”

Since war has long since been abolished, disputes are now settled via government sanctioned giant robot battles. Not only do these robo-battle competitions spare thousands of innocent lives, but they also score huge TV ratings.

gundambreaker2_cover

Coke VS Pepsi II: This Time It’s Personal. Only on Pay-Per-View!

In the year 3000, planet Earth has state of the art cutting edge technology…

Fozzie2

“How is Windows 3000 like a maximum security prison? It’s always locking up! Waka-waka-waka!”

quantum-computer

Quantum computers are as commonplace as refrigerators, and cost nearly the same. (The one in this photo is actually the size of a paperweight.) Not only do they run thrice as fast as 21st century computers, but they’re better suited for surfing the Ultranet.

u-logo

The Ultranet. The thing that replaced the thing that replaced the internet.

 

Also, scientists discovered magic to be an actual form of energy in 2103. Once they were able to harness and control it, magic (or mana or Etherium, as it’s now called) was added to the Periodic Table of Elements the following year.

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XaosElements

Nowadays, magic is officially a branch of science, and as a result sorcerers and LARPers have since joined the fraternity of technogeeks.

Anime Witches

In the 31st century, girls are way into STEMM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Mysticism. It’s cool to be smart!

Jetsons Flying Cars

Flying cars? Yeah, we’ve got those.

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As well as picturesque structures.

jetsons-shopping-center

 

Say, have you ever noticed how we never saw the ground on The Jetsons? The buildings and structures were so high up, I’ve always figured that the ground looked something like this:

Post-Apocalyptic World

Maybe that’s just me.

Moving on…

Hoverboarding

Hoverboards? You bet (the real deal this time, not that phony crap that companies tried to pull back in 2015)! These hoverboards actually hover!

We’ve also got servile domestic robots called “servbots” to cater to your every need.

 

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“Good morning, sir. Your Belgian waffles and Canadian bacon breakfast is on the table. Also, you have 9 new emails. Shall I prepare the virtual sex room for you, sir?”

futurama__s_bender_by_muscleduck

“Hey! I’ve never helped anybody in my life and you know it!”

We all get our information from the Ultranet, the thing that replaced the thing that replaced the internet.

washu 2

“And with state of the art inter-dimensional portal technology (which I invented, thank you very much), everybody has plenty of closet space!”

Colonel Sanders has been cloned in order to ensure that chicken remains finger lickin’ good!

Col. Sanders

“Colonel Sanders the 35th here. 3 chicken tenders/taters ‘n’ gravy/I’ll toss in a biscuit/and a big ol’ cookie!”

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Cows, on the other hand, have gone extinct. Victims of their own deliciousness.

I could probably mention Disney’s Phil of the Future here,

Phil_of_the_Future

…but I’ve seen a few episodes, and the best thing about that show was some of the gadgets. I don’t know how a Dress Me Hoop works, but I want one.

In addition, in the year 3000 Earth has long since made contact with extra terrestrial life, largely due to Earth joining the Democratic Order of Planets (DOOP).

doop_insignia_by_viperaviator-d3arn0r

After 2 very polite rejection letters, Earth was finally admitted into DOOP in 2772, not for developing the Faster Than Light Speed (FTL) propulsion drive, the rest of the galaxy already had that, but for finally cracking the formula to make banana flavored soda.

Humans regularly interact with aliens (although the Politically Correct term for them is “Space People”). Some aliens have even set up permanent lodgings on Earth. The only stipulation is that they be registered and make a pledge to never try to conquer the planet or enslave the populace under threat of being deported, or worse, have to fill out dozens of paperwork.

Chameloen Boy

“Dude, the only thing that I’m interested in conquering is Nintendo’s ‘Punch-Out!!’. I’ve been stuck on Bald Bull forever!”

Even though I have yet to write a decent comedy series with the distant future as a setting, I still love it. Futuristic sci-fi tech is just a different take on magic, when you really think about it. Both enable one to do the impossible, you’re just doing it by pushing some buttons instead waving a wand.

Mirror Match

On a final note, if you’re going to travel through time, try to avoid running into yourself, because that would be really awkward.