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Western Animation / Fred and Barney Meet the Thing

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No, it's not a Word Salad Title, but neither does it actually describe what happens in the show.

In 1979, Fred and Barney Meet the Thing was an hour-long Saturday morning cartoon on NBC in which, ironically, neither Fred Flintstone nor Barney Rubble ever met the Thing. It consisted of a half-hour of The Flintstones and a half-hour of The Thing. Eventually it was expanded to 90 minutes with the addition of a half-hour Shmoo segment, at which point the title of the show was changed to the equally inaccurate Fred and Barney Meet the Shmoo (although it did happen in the "Bedrock Cops" shorts on The Flintstone Comedy Show).

The Flintstones segment consisted of episodes of the late 1970s spinoff The New Fred and Barney Show, a series of new half-hour Flintstones stories told in a style somewhat closer to the original series versus the previous few spinoffs (i.e., Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm were depicted as toddlers instead of as teenagers).

The Thing, which was loosely based on the ever-lovin' blue-eyed character of the same name from Marvel Comics' Fantastic Four series, followed the adventures of young Benjy Grimm. His magic ring would transform him into a rock-covered monster whenever he touched the two halves together and said, "Thing Ring, do your thing," a particularly cheesy example of By the Power of Grayskull!. This was quite a departure from the original character, Ben Grimm, an adult test pilot who was transformed permanently into the rocky-skinned Thing after having been exposed to cosmic rays (though several episodes state this was the same character, an adult stuck as a teenager). The Thing segments were the only segments specifically produced for this show.

The New Shmoo stars the titular creature from Li'l Abner as the Team Pet of a trio of teenagers in yet another of Hanna-Barbera's own apings of the Scooby-Doo formula. It was originally a separate series, but it was incorporated into this show after a couple of months. The last five episodes only aired as part of the combined series.

Even the staff who worked on this barely believe this show existed.

Both of the top-billing segments contain examples of:

  • Fake Crossover: Averted! Fred and Barney never actually meet the Thing, the shorts of one NEVER crossover with the shorts of the other. The only time they are ever seen together are during the opening credits and bumpers between segments (though, as mentioned, Fred and Barney did eventually meet the Shmoo in segments of a completely different show).
  • Never Trust a Title: Since Barney and Fred do not in fact meet the Thing.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted. There are two characters named Betty—Barney Rubble's wife and Benjy Grimm's friend.

The New Fred and Barney Show segments contain examples of:

  • Frankenstein's Monster: Or in this case, "Frankenstone's Monster". This is the first appearance of the Frankenstones, who would go on to appear in the four half-hour primetime specials, and in their own segment in the previously mentioned Flintstone Comedy Show from 1980.note 
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampires: Count Rockula and his wife are vampires who are on good terms with the Flintstones. Unfortunately, the same can't be said about the previously mentioned Frankenstones.
  • The New Adventures: The New Fred and Barney Show.
  • The '70s: The Stone Age technology equivalent here is updated for the seventies, including the presence of microwave ovens (a dragon in a box spewing rings of fire to cook food rapidly) and CB radios.
  • Wicked Witch: The titular "Sand-Witch" is this, as well as an example of Jekyll & Hyde.

The New Shmoo segments contain examples of:

  • Cover Innocent Eyes and Ears: In one episode, the kids expose the villains by spraying them with a foam that can dissolve clothes, and they end up seeing the bad guys in their undergarments.
    Nita: Fantastic! This stuff is melting their disguises and revealing who they are!
    Mickey: (covering Nita's eyes) Revealing a little too much I'd say!
  • Expressive Hair: Mainly occurs with Billy Joe whenever he's frightened by whatever monster that may be, but this has also happened to Mickey and Nita notably when they notice the giant cyclops behind them in "Monster Island".
  • Extra-Long Episode: Some episodes ran for approximately a half-hour, whereas others were shorter at 10-11 minutes.
  • Eye Pop: Shmoo in "The Return of Dracula", when he sees the episode's titular vampire heading towards him and Billy Joe.
  • Follow the Bouncing Ball: Interstitial segments had singalongs, with the Shmoo turning into the bouncing ball.
  • Gratuitous Spanish: Naturally, since Nita is Latina, she occasionally makes Spanish comments.
  • Marilyn Maneuver: Nita in the episode, "The Terror of The Trolls". After she tries to stop the Troll King's escape by motorboat with a lasso, he manages to drive off. As she holds onto the rope tightly, she's dragged across the surface of water and the motion gives her skirt an updraft. She crouches to avoid revealing too much and her panties are briefly exposed, and seen from the side.
  • The New Adventures: The New Shmoo (so named because the "old" Shmoo was a whole mess of the critters in the Li'l Abner comic strip).
  • Ship Tease: There are a few moments where Nita and Mickey seem to have a bit of subtext
  • Through A Face Fullof Fur: Shmoo in "The Warlock of Voodoo Island". As a magnet, he glows yellow as he collects energy from an electric current.
  • You Meddling Kids: Averted in most episodes. Neither this line nor any other variation of it is ever said by most of the criminals in this series.
    • The exception is Mr. Shaw from "The Valley Where Time Stood Still".
      Mr. Shaw: You had to meddle with a slick plan! Real slick!

Alternative Title(s): Fred And Barney Meet The Shmoo