STUDIO: Universal
MSRP: $44.98
RUNNING TIME: 780 Minutes
The Flintstones Meet Pop Culture
: Stephen Baldwin hosts a look at the effect of pop culture on the show, and vice versa
The Great Gazoo: From A to Zetox

The Pitch

"Fred & Barney meet Gazoo…Flintstones meet the shark and jump it."

The Humans

Fred, Wilma and Pebbles Flintstone, Barney, Betty and Bamm-Bamm Rubble, Dino.

"So I says to Hanna-Barbera, ‘Either you give us all a raise, or Season 6 is going to be the last.’"
"And I take it they agreed?"

The Nutshell

Having already broken ground as the first animated prime time TV show in history, and parodied modern life in a Stone Age setting, The Flintstones rounded things up in Season 6, their final. Still, there were plenty of hijinks to ensue before Fred & co. yabba dabba doo-ed their way into syndication immortality. This includes Fred renovating an old shack when he thinks his mother-in-law is coming to live with them (The House That Fred Built), having Stony Curtis (Tony Curtis) as a slave (The Return of Stony Curtis), and Fred buying a circus in another get-rich-quick scheme (Circus Business). However, nothing signified that Season 6 was the last for the show more than the embodiment of Jumping the Shark: that obnoxious green little shit, Gazoo.

For some strange reason, Barney came to the opinion that maybe Al Qaedrock wasn’t all bad…

The Lowdown

I’ve covered The Flintstones a couple of times now and there’s not too much more for me to say on the subject. They remain one of the most enduring properties, not only of creators Hanna-Barbera, but all of cartoons. They spawned several spin-offs and have entertained children for five decades. For me, they were definitely top five as a kid. And as a franchise, they extend beyond the TV screen into things like vitamins, toys, clothing and food. Hell, I was chowing down on a bowl of Fruity Pebbles when I started this review.

The stories and the characterization were probably the best that Hanna-Barbera ever put out in one of their cartoons and lifted this show above the legion of other characters that the studio created. It certainly paved the way for the majority of them. Some of the episodes that stood out in this season were the aforementioned Circus Business, Return of Stony Curtis and also The Gravelberry Pie King, where Fred gets fired from the stone quarry and tries to make it rich by selling Wilma’s delicious gravelberry pies. But when they’re spending more than they’re making, Fred quickly digs them into yet another financial hole. All of those are indicative of Fred’s never-ending folly in trying to make a better life with usually hackneyed plans of fame and fortune.

"This is great-looking meat, Gazoo. Where’d you get it?"
"It’s funny you should ask. You see, Dino made the mistake of yapping at me…"

Other episodes found Fred in situations or troubles that weren’t always of his making, such as Disorder in the Court, where Fred is the foreman of a jury that convicts a criminal named The Mangler, who escapes and vows revenge on Fred. There’s also The Masquerade Party where Fred has the misfortune of dressing up like a spaceman on Halloween, the exact same night when a radio station is inciting panic with a space invasion publicity stunt. Or Shinrock-A-Go-Go where Fred inspires a national dance craze simply by dropping a bowling ball on his foot.

But this season did show that the stories were starting to run dry, and were even repeating themselves in certain cases. Take for instance the episodes, No Biz Like Show Biz and Rip Van Flintstone, the former where Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm become huge stars when it’s discovered they can sing remarkably well for toddlers and the only way the Fred and Barney can be with their kids is to kidnap them; and the latter where Fred takes a nap and wakes up 20 years later to find Barney a millionaire, and Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm are grown and married. Then (whew!), it turns out that in both instances, it was all a dream…yeah, thanks for playing, we have some lovely parting gifts.

"I told you Barn, what happened in Rock Vegas with those hookers should have stayed in Rock Vegas…"

And of course, the worst part of the season was Gazoo, a literal little green man from outer space who shows up and turns the lives of Fred and Barney completely upside down. Usually, Fred and Barney got into, and had to get out of, their own messes; but Gazoo arrives and either causes disaster or saves the day with a snap of his fingers. Big whoop. Episodes like The Great Gazoo, The Stonefinger Caper (a villain from a movie comes to life and makes life hell for Fred and Barn) and Seeing Doubles (Gazoo creates doubles of Fred and Barney so they can go bowling and still have a dinner date with their wives, leading to predictable shenanigans) are perfect examples of this.

But I suppose that this is all from the POV of an adult (so to speak) and those episodes are made more for kids. I did like it when I was a kid and I suppose that’s all that matters. A few Gazoo episodes don’t necessarily make for a bad season and episodes like Samantha, where Elizabeth Montgomery and Dick Sargent from Bewitched reprise their roles as Sam and Darren Stevens were fun. Kids are sure to enjoy this set just as much now as forty years ago.

The very last episode, Fred and Barney Meet Rockzilla wasn’t intended to be the very last episode, but ole Rocky got hungry and, well…

The Package

The episodes look good and sound fine and there are a couple of special features to round things out. The Flintstones Meet Pop Culture features Stephen Baldwin, who played Barney in the immortal live action Flintstones feature Viva Rock Vegas, gives a tour of the season and some of the pop culture influences and impacts of the show. And The Great Gazoo: From A to Zetox gives a quickie account of the green little shit.

7.0 out of 10