The Flintstones may have first aired all the way back in 1960, but this prehistoric animated classic is truly timeless and just as funny in 2019.
The Flintstones is undoubtedly one of the most influential animated series of all time, and one of the best sitcoms for that matter, too. First airing in 1960, the prehistoric animated series followed the lives of Fred and Wilma Flintstone, and their best friends and neighbors Barney and Betty Rubble.
The series offered up a slice of life look at the daily lives of two married couples, and how they worked and raised their families in a time long, long, long ago. Though the series may be pretty dated in terms of its setting, some of the iconic show’s jokes still stand the test of time, even nearly 60 years later.
“How can you be so stupid?” “Hey, that’s not very nice. Say you’re sorry.” “I’m sorry you’re stupid.”
Sometimes, being best friends means calling each other out when you’re being stupid. Other times, being best friends means totally roasting each other for being stupid and feeling superior in your own intellect.
Fred and Barney might have been the central friendship of the series, but there’s no denying that these two could be totally – and hilariously – savage with each other from time to time. As in this case, poor Barney often winds up taking the brunt of the insults, with Fred making fun of his dim-witted buddy’s intellect on more than one occasion.
“Where’s your get up and go?” “It just got up and went.”
Even nearly 60 years after the series first premiered, Fred and Barney also both happen to be all too relatable in many ways, especially to the current generation of tired millennials. It’s hard to maintain a sense of self-motivation, even in the prehistoric age.
Fred asks Barney where his “get up and go” disappeared to, and Barney’s response that his get up and go “got up and went” is honestly too perfect. It’s a perfectly set up joke, no matter how on the nose the punchline may be and it really feels like something a millennial would tweet when they’ve just had enough of adulting for the day.
“Hand ’em over, Dino. Ladies first.”
Over the course of the series, Fred and Barney embark on plenty of harebrained schemes. But by far one of the most ridiculous and annoying of them all is when Fred decides he’s destined to be a rock star – despite having no musical talent whatsoever.
As part of his plans to launch a musical act that will produce music people can twitch to, Fred serenades Wilma, Betty, and Dino in an obnoxiously off-key manner. This leads to Dino producing a pair of earmuffs to block out the sound, and both Wilma and Betty insisting that he share.
“Stand back, Barney. I’m going to put a little weight behind it.” “But Fred, you’re a lot of weight!”
Though Fred is the one who usually does plenty of the roasting, Barney gets in his fair share of jabs at Fred’s expense, too – even if most of them result from Barney’s own cluelessness.
It doesn’t take a genius to realize that Fred Flintstone is more than a little overweight; the series takes plenty of opportunities to make fun of his size, basically whenever it can. But the jokes that come from Barney at Fred’s expense are almost always funnier than the rest of them, largely due to the fact that he often makes the jokes without thinking.
“Who is your bosom buddy, close friend, and lifelong pal?” “How many guesses do I get?”
Fred and Barney are the best of friends, as we’ve already established many times by now. But that doesn’t mean that Fred clearly doesn’t use poor Barney’s kindness and naivety to his advantage many times.
So when Fred asks Barney who exactly his “bosom buddy, close friend, and lifelong pal” is – clearly meaning himself, in an attempt to butter his best bud up – we don’t really blame Barney for taking the opportunity to deadpan, “How many guesses do I get?” Well, that, and we’re really not entirely convinced Barney would know the answer right away either.
“Barney, what would you do if you were holding the queen alone?” “I don’t know, Fred. It all depends on what time the king gets home.”
For all their mutual stupidity, as is the way with sitcom husbands in the most classic series, Fred and Barney also manage to get in some typical chauvinistic humor. Even if the series’ view of gender dynamics is just as dated as its setting, sometimes, the total off-color humor stands the test of time more than other punchlines.
While playing cards, Fred asks Barney what move he would make if all he had left were the queen card. Barney’s cheeky response basically writes itself and is still hilarious after all these years.
“Don’t you see? Our neighbor Alvin Brickrock, he borrowed my shovel! He could be a vicious monster, a diabolical fiend!” “Well Fred, you haven’t returned my lawnmower and I don’t feel that way about you.”
More often than not, it’s Fred who leads the guys astray and into trouble, they’d be better off avoiding entirely. It’s also Fred who tends to judge people and situations without having much information to go off of.
So when Fred believes their neighbor, Alvin Brickrock, could be a scammer or worse, Barney is quick to take Fred to task for his short-sighted judgments. And as always, without clearly intending to do so, Barney manages to deliver a totally ruthless takedown of his not so bright best pal.
“Aww, she looks like a chip off the ol’ block.” “Actually, more like a pebble off the ol’ flintstone.”
Pebbles Flintstone is undoubtedly the series’ most adorable character, and definitely one of its most memorable ones, too. But the truth of the matter is her name wouldn’t have been what it is if it weren’t for a totally adorable and hilarious joke from none other than Barney.
As soon as she was born, Barney observed that the newborn baby seemed more like a “pebble off the ol’ flintstone” than the stereotypical “chip off the ol’ block” – and the rest was history.
Though it may have been an animated series, The Flintstones also functioned primarily as a primetime sitcom. As such, it offered a satirical look at the daily life of married couples and their families.
One area the series satirized in particular, and to great effect, was the friendship between women and men and their many similarities and differences. A recurring theme for both the friendships between Wilma and Betty was their love of impulsive shopping, hilariously conveyed by the times when they shouted “Charge it!” while embarking on a shopping spree.
“Hello, dumb dumb!”
Gazoo might be one of the more controversial characters in the series, as he was introduced partway through the series’ final season and felt more like he was meant for sister series The Jetsons.
But there’s no denying that the way he greeted both Barney and Fred – with a cheery, and perfectly astute “Hello, dumb dumb!” – always makes for some of the series’ funniest moments. Whether you loved or hated the pint-sized green alien, it’s hard not to laugh at his introductions.