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Western Animation / A Flintstones Christmas Carol

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A Flintstones Christmas Carol is a 1994 syndicated TV movie based on the television series The Flintstones.

The plot centers around the Bedrock Community Players putting on a stage production of A Christmas Carol, with Fred Flintstone cast in the leading role as "Ebonezer Scrooge". But Fred's constant rehearsals for his part begin to rub off on his character as he forgets to buy his family Christmas presents, leaves Pebbles all alone at cave care and treats his friends like "supporting players" and ends up learning the true meaning of Christmas as he performs on stage.

A return to the normal characterizations and ages of the Flintstones's main cast, this is not to be confused with the 1977 special A Flintstone Christmas (where Fred fills in for Santa) or the previous year's A Flintstone Family Christmas (the final installment of the 1993 trilogy of TV specials where Pebbles & Bamm-Bamm marry and have kids.) Notable as the last animated Flintstones production (Cave Kids and short films aside) before Hanna-Barbera was merged into Warner Bros. Animation in 2001.

This special includes examples of:

  • Acting for Two: In-universe examples; Barney plays Bob Craget and Fezziwig, Mrs. Feldspar as Fan and Clara, Mr. Slate as Jacob Marbley and one of the businessmen talking about Scrooge's death in the future sequence, stage manager Wilma filling for several actors who get sick, and Dino playing both the Craget's pet and the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come when the original actor also gets sick.
  • Adaptation Relationship Overhaul: Downplayed in-universe. The play maintains Scrooge's failed relationship with Belle in the flashbacks, but instead of being the lost love of his life, he suddenly wins her back before the ending. This was because of the trope above; Wilma had filled in as Belle earlier and then had to play a member of the charitable foundation that Scrooge bumps into. To apologize for his off-stage behavior, Fred changes the script on the spot by referring to the charity worker as Belle and says he's learned the error of his ways. Wilma goes along with this rather than break character (thus giving Scrooge an even happier ending than usual), though she still wants a formal apology from Fred backstage.
  • Adaptational Name Change: Scrooge's nephew is named Ned in this version, due to the One-Steve Limit.
  • Anachronism Stew: This is set in the stone age (tens of thousands of years before the birth of Christ at the very least), but Dickens's story was published in 1846. And to that, the setting in the play is a stone-age rendering of 19th century London.
  • Darker and Edgier: The play has aspects of this in comparison to a typical Flintstones storyline (the fates of Tiny Tim and Scrooge in the "Ghost of Christmas Future" scenes)
    • It's also one of the few children's adaptions to include the deathbed scene, complete with a foot sticking out from under the sheet.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Wilma has a right to be mad at Fred, no doubt about that. However, that doesn't excuse her occasional moments of violence toward him during the play, like smacking him over the head with his pillow (made of stone) and stepping on his feet during a dance scene.
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: Fred initially wonders why Wilma is so upset with him, saying he hasn't stumbled over any scenery or screwed up any lines.
  • Flintstone Theming: The trope namer, of course. Among other aspects, "Bloomingshales" is a department store featured in several portions of the story.
  • Hyper-Competent Sidekick: Wilma acts as the stage manager for the play, and essentially carries it in on her back when she has to stand in for several actors who got sick at the last minute (including the Ghost of Christmas Past and Belle, two roles she needed to portray at the same time). As such, her emotionally driven acting (fueled by her frustrations with Fred's attitude) make her the standout of the play.
  • It's All About Me: Fred acts this way.
  • Jerkass Ball: Fred definitely fits the cake. He's not the friendliest guy by any stretch, but he takes on new levels of negligence here. This also affects the entire cast as well who respond appropriately, especially Wilma.
    (After the curtain comes down to hide them from the audience, the cast unceremoniously drop Fred back on the stage while looking very disappointed and annoyed with him. When he asks why...)
    Barney, Betty, and Wilma: For being such a Scrooge!
  • Jerkass Realization: Fred starts hitting this after Wilma breaks down in tears after the Christmas Past segment over his behavior, and even moreso when he realizes he never followed up on trying to pick up Wilma's and Pebbles's presents after leaving them with a kid to wrap them (fortunately, the kid also has a role in the play and brought them with him to give to Fred after the show).
  • Mythology Gag: Fred is shown to have a cop friend named Philo Quartz, who was the Token Minority kid on The Flintstone Kids. This is probably The Artifact due to this movie originating as part of the second round of the Superstars 10. It would have been mostly plotted not long after The Flintstone Kids and with the kids as babies aimed to make Philo look to have been there all along. However, this wouldn't actually get funded until long after they had made new movies with Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm as adults in the early 90s.
    • The mannequin's outfit Fred buys at the department store has a wig that looks like the teenage/adult Pebbles's hairstyle.
    • The newspaper the Flintstones subscribe to is the Daily Granite, the paper Wilma works for in the early 1980's The Flintstone Comedy Show.
  • Large Ham: People keep calling Fred this.
  • Lost in Character: Fred gets so caught up rehearsing for his part as Scrooge, he becomes a selfish jerk who ignores his family and friends. He learns his errors the hard way when the actual play goes on.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Fred goes through this a few times as he steadily begins to realize how much of an ass he's become since taking on the Scrooge role.
    • The first instance occurs when Fred realizes he forgot to buy Wilma and Pebbles any gifts, and immediately heads to the mall to rectify the issue. While he admittedly goes all out to get the two gifts they'll appreciate, in doing so Fred left Pebbles at daycare, which leads to...
    • Fred getting called out by Wilma and just about everyone else throughout the play, realizing his selfish attitude caused him to mistreat, abuse, and ignore his friends and family.
  • Mama Bear: Wilma's final straw with Fred's attitude is him forgetting to pick up Pebbles at daycare. She's not only incredibly hostile to Fred (and even a little violent), Wilma later breaks down in tears over the thought of Fred's treatment of Pebbles.
  • Narrator: Charles Brickens narrates the play.
  • Out Sick: A running gag is most of the actors getting the "bedrock bug" and Wilma having to fill in their roles.
  • Performance Anxiety: Bamm-Bamm gets nervous when the time comes for him to say "God bless us, everyone." Pebbles says it for him.
  • Reality Subtext: An in-universe example; Fred sees that the play's story reflects his own behavior from earlier that day. Wilma's sadness for her role as Belle and Betty's anger while playing Mrs. Craget are their genuine emotions towards Fred.
    • Also, when Fred plays Scrooge as a boy, Scrooge's sister Fan mentions him being left alone at school and neglected by his father, causing Fred to remember that he forgot to pick up Pebbles from day care because of his Scrooge-like attitude while rehearsing. It helps that Fan is played by Pebbles's day care teacher.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Several new characters are featured as if they have been regular parts of the supporting cast for years. However, as seen in What Could Have Been, some of these may have originally been grown-up versions of characters introduced in The Flintstone Kids but changed along the years.
  • Running Gag: The play's actors coming down with the "Bedrock Bug", and Wilma having to take over their roles.
  • The Snark Knight: Wilma
  • Throw It In!: An in-universe example; Fred sees Wilma filling in for a charity worker who got sick, he keeps referring to her as "Belle", so they both go along changing the story a bit with Scrooge reuniting with Belle after his redemption. The narrator complains that it wasn't in the script.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: After all the emotional grief caused by Fred and the hectic workload she endured filling in for various others at the last minute, Wilma receives a genuine apology from Fred and is publicly praised for the play's success. It is Fred offering to invite Wilma's mom Pearl to Christmas dinner that finally shows her he has repented and deserves her forgiveness.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Barney, Wilma and Betty act this way to Fred all through the show. In fact, after the curtain falls, the entire cast of the play looks angered at Fred, though only Barney, Betty, and Wilma speak for all of them with telling Fred off "for being such a Scrooge" in caring more about his role than any of them.
  • Yet Another Christmas Carol: The play that is the central focus of this movie is based on the classic Dickens tale.