When Muppet Babies debuted in 1984, it was a massive success and had one of the most successful and longest running runs of any Saturday morning cartoon at the time. So, naturally, it was ripe to copy that success and one of the first TV shows to attempt to copy the success of Muppet Babies was The Flintstone Kids:
Okay, several questions come into play with this but before we do that, let’s get into the gist of what this was:
The Flintstone Kids is a Saturday morning animated series and a spin-off of The Flintstones . The Flintstones Kids aired from September 6, 1986 to September 3, 1988 on ABC and as part of the weekday/weekend morning programming block The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera. The show disregards established continuity from the original series, in which Fred and Barney met Wilma and Betty as adults.
The program follows the adventures of Fred, Barney, Wilma, Betty and Dino as children as they deal with their childhood with their friends Nate Slate, Philo Quartz, and Dreamchip Gemstone while also contending with their bully Rocky Ratrock and his group consisting of Tar Pit, Flab Slab, Janet Granite, and Rocky’s dog Stalagbite.
This series featured the following segments:
- The Flintstone Kids: The “main” story of the show. Either it would be the length of a full episode or be split into two different stories.
- Flintstone Funnies: Freddy, Barney, Wilma and Betty dreaming of exciting fantasy/adventures. These were dropped in the second season.
- Dino’s Dilemmas: This segment featured the adventures and misadventures of Freddy’s pet dinosaur Dino.
- Captain Caveman and Son: The adventures of Captain Caveman with his son, Cavey Jr. This segment was actually a “show within a show” whereby Captain Caveman and Son is a TV show watched by the main characters, with the “fourth wall” being broken frequently.
First off, the idea of having Fred & Barney hanging out with Wilma & Betty decades before they actually met just seems like one of the many problems this should would have to succeed and…yeah, that is kind of a huge problem here.
I know the series lets it aside that the continuity for this is suppose to be off in order to make this work but come on, now you’re taking the concept of the original series and just changing the continuity around to make this work…and not even doing a good job at it.
Second, the voice acting in this is just…off, specifically with Fred Flintstone. What they decide to do with Fred is one of the most baffling decisions I have ever seen done. To give Fred’s kid voice that same style that the original voice actor had in the original show, take a listen to see what they did…or hear in this case:
Why the hell does Fred sound like he smokes like three packs of cigarettes a day? I mean, good lord, that is horrible. Fred is suppose to be a kid in this, he doesn’t sound like a kid, he sounds like if the grown up Fred had huffed balloons to make his voice sound like a chipmunk. But thankfully, the second season has Scott Menville replacing Lennie Weinrib as Fred and it definitely sounds a lot better:
Okay, I know that I’m being a little too harsh on the series but honestly, it’s a harmless show and when they try to go for more educational and topical storylines, they did a pretty decent job with it. Take for example, the Just Say No special. I briefly talked about this one a while back but the plot was when Wilma refuses to use marijuana in order to join a “cool crowd”, the Flintstone Kids and their friends start a campaign against drugs while trying to get tickets to a Michael Jackstone concert. And remember Kipp Lennon, the guy who did Michael Jackson’s singing voice in the Simpsons episode, Stark Raving Dad? Well…
As far as the PSA type specials went, it’s fine, it gets its’ message out there nicely and it doesn’t throw in your face as much as most of these PSA specials do…certainly did a better job than A Pup Named Scooby Doo did in one of their early episodes. No really, there’s a Pup Named Scooby Doo episode that all of a sudden turns into a PSA about drugs with no indication at all, Scooby Dude is the episode. Seriously, watch that episode and watch the huge tonal shift that takes place out of nowhere.
But enough about that, let’s get back to Flintstone Kids.
To be perfectly honest, as much shit as I’ve talked about this show, it was not that bad of a show. It was harmless, the animation was decent, the voice acting, for the most part, was fine, the show as a whole was perfectly serviceable in a timeperiod when it was all about selling the merchandise and not really focused on writing deep stories or creative elements that would impact many of the animated shows of the 1990s. For the timeperiod, it did what it needed to do and for that, it’s a harmless show. Give it a watch and look back on some memories of the Bedrock Flintstone kids.
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