This Hanna-Barbera series demonstrates that even in comedy animation, Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale. The first series broadcast in color by ABC, The Jetsons was essentially The Flintstonesnote Which predates this show by two years, and had always been in color, but which ABC initially broadcast in black and white. transferred to an idealized vision (even for the time) of the 21st century, with flying cars, conveyor-belt sidewalks and fancy (or rather, fancier) appliances. George Jetson and his family live in an ultra-high-rise apartment complex with their dog, Astro, and their robot maid, Rosie.After its prime-time run, the original 1962 series was rebroadcast on Saturday mornings on other networks, as well as in syndication. The plots have been compared to those in the Blondie comic strip and movies — not surprising, since Penny Singleton (who played Blondie in the films) was the voice of Jane Jetson. New Jetsons episodes were produced for syndication in the mid-1980s to bump the episode count to the standard 65 episode syndication package, and in 1987-88, there were two feature-length Made For TV Movies. One of those movies, The Jetsons Meet the Flintstones, served as a natural crossover between the two animated families.Universal released an animated Jetsons feature film in 1990, complete with Conspicuous CG, a Green Aesop played out with a Gang of Critters, and reuniting nearly all of the original cast members save for '80s pop starlet Tiffany voicing Judy Jetson thanks to Executive Meddling. The film also marked the last performance ever of noted voice artist Mel Blanc (Mr. Spacely), who was still recording while in the hospital (as he had years before then), as well as George O' Hanlon (George), who by that point had to have the lines read and acted to him before recording, and passed away in the recording booth after his last line. The film was dedicated in memory of both men. Penny Singleton did not die during production like Blanc and O'Hanlon, but the movie remained her last acting role until her death thirteen years later.A prospective Live-Action Adaptation, with Robin Williams as George Jetson, was apparently axed in favor of the fourth Spy Kids film, but seems to be back on track for an eventual release, with creative director Kanye West (yes, that Kanye) and Warner Bros. looking for a director.
Art Evolution: Look at one of the earlier episodes of the first season, and look at one of the episodes of the last seasonnote animated by Toei Animation which has an almost digital art-like quality. This is really impressive considering they were still using cels to make the show at the time.
Mr. Spacely: Jetson! Thank goodness you're still here! I've got some good news and some bad news... George Jetson: What's the bad news, Mr. Spacely? Mr. Spacely: We've discovered a very dangerous computer virus that you have to stop right away! George: But that could take months! By the way... what's the good news? Mr. Spacely: The good news is, I don't have to do it! Bye now!
Corrupt Corporate Executive: Mr. Spacely was originally an implied one, but mostly showed signs of it in the '80s series and was played straight in the 1990 movie. Spacely's business rival, Mr Cogswell, is just as bad if not worse.
In the opening, George takes a few bills out of his wallet for Jane, but Jane takes the entire wallet instead.
Spoofed on Family Guy where George yells at Jane for taking all his money and ends up throwing her out of the air car, killing her.
In the episode "Future Tense," George wins a pile of money at a horse race, at the end the 'interplanetary revenue service' takes the pile, hands him a stack out of the pile, and keeps the rest for themselves.
Deus Exit Machina: In similar fashion to the outro gag for The Flintstones, George's screams to "stop this crazy thing" are never replied in the original ending credits. Family Guy took another swipe at the show with this.
George:*haggard and livid* DID YOU NOT HEAR ME BACK THERE?!?
Does Not Like Shoes: Jane never seems to be wearing shoes. Only stockings over her feet and legs.
Averted. She does in fact wear shoes. They just happen to be the same color as her stockings, plus they are only seen in a few or so episodes (throught the entire series), and even then, they aren't given a specific focus.
Getting Crap Past the Radar: The "cheeky" French Maid robot in the episode that introduces Rosienote Which was the pilot, no less. Considering the original episodes were produced when they didn't allow female navels on TV (as in I Dream of Jeannie), it's fun to imagine that Judy's navel is "really" exposed throughout the series, but just not drawn due to the simplified art style.
No OSHA Compliance: Noting that these buildings are thousands of feet in the air, the parking lots don't have any barriers, and there are even suspended conveyor belts without railingsnote Such as the conveyor belts seen in some airports. in public places. Far worse when you think hovercraft accidents may leave the occupants hurtling through the glass domes, and down thousands of feet.
Mr. Cogswell/Cogswell Cogs to Mr. Spacely/Spacely Sprockets
One episode revealed that there's no real practical difference between sprockets or cogs, in such a way as to suggest that this is some sort of dirty secret which could prove ruinous to one or both companies should it ever be made public.
One episode reveals the rivalry came from when they were kids. They attended the same school; graduated the same day; Spacely Sprockets and Cogswell Cogs were founded practically at the same time. Making his millionth cog before Spacely made his millionth sprocket meant so much for Cogswell he didn't mind going to prison for what he did to sabotage Spacely.
Same Character, but Different: RUDI in the 1980's episodes looks absolutely nothing like his 1962 appearance, although it was apparently the same character (in both versions he was voice by Don Messick)
So, why didn't Jane learn to drive (pilot?) in High School? Because she was pregnant with Judy at the time (see below). The above is averted in The Eighties revival, where Jane and Judy do indeed drive.
Also, why would Jane be a housewife in a society with robot maids, automated kitchens and self-cleaning houses? They didn't always have a robot maid. Either way, Rule of Funny still applies. Maybe it just sounds better than "unemployed".
The '80s series used the same intro animation from the original, but the theme tune was re-recorded with (electronic) Simmons Drums, electric bass and some other changes (some de-jazzification?) in an attempt to make it sound more modern. But this new recording was also applied to subsequent re-issues of the original series in some weird attempt at revisionism.
The '60s series also gained the 1985 title cards, end credits sequence, and the laugh track was removed to put it in line with the then-new season. Compare this to this. This was an attempt to "seamlessly" fit the 1962-3 and 1985/1987 seasons into the one syndication package, as if no one would notice the the difference between them (e.g. the voice actors ageing by a couple of decades, and real-life technological advances during the gap leading to the '80s seasons focusing more on computer than mechanical technology). The 2004 DVDs (and newer re-issues to broadcasters) have restored all of the above to the originals except for the title cards, with the original Cold Openings still missing.
Rosie's often stated to be a long-obsolete (by the Jetsons' era's standards) robot model, with more advanced robots available.
There's also the Jetsons' futuristic tech sometimes breaking down or malfunctioning.
In "Private Property", when George Jetson and Mr. Spacely saw a building being erected next to the headquarters of Spacely Sprockets, the two of them agreed that it's not like in the "old" days when it took a "whole week" to erect a building.
In some episodes Jane can be seen shopping and the kids doing schoolwork on it, which pushes it slightly more towards the desktop PCs of the actual future than the dedicated-hardware videophone of pure zeerust.
Visual Pun: "Let me put on my face" is usually a euphemism for putting on makeup. In the cartoon, Jane and a friend of hers actually put on faces over their bed heads.
Ambiguous Gender: If Furgie's dad didn't says she was a girl, most people would have never known she wasnote even if she WAS voiced by Russi Taylor.... Astro, of all characters, reaffirms viewers that Furgie is a girl at the end, when the Furbalow parents are bidding the Jetsons farewell and then ask where Furgie is, after which Astro hands her back to her parents and says, "Here she is!"
Lampshaded at one point, where when Bertie explains that Furgie is a girl Rosie turns to Jane and says "how can ya tell?"
Animation Bump: Watch an earlier episode of the first season of the show, then look at this movie and see how much the animation quality improved.
Big Damn Movie: The original show = basically The Flintstonesin space. The Movie = taking down a corrupt corporation from within, with the survival of an entire species hanging in the balance.
Disney Acid Sequence: Judy and Apollo's song, "You and Me". Justified in that it was in a simulation room.note It's also the only part of the movie not done by Hanna-Barbera themselves. It was done by Kurtz and Friends, a company that usually only does commercials.
Logo Joke: The Hanna-Barbera Swirling Star appears at the end of the movie, albeit with its "swirling" sound effects replaced with a majestic-sounding rendition of four notes from the Jetsons theme song.
Zeerust Canon: Being made in 1990, this movie is loaded with 1980's pop culture, from music to hairstyles, yet it's still set in the same 1960's Raygun Gothic future, which sometimes gives a weird combination.