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Western Animation / The Jetsons

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The modern Space Age family.

Meet George Jetson
His boy Elroy
Daughter Judy
Jane, his wife
—The opening theme

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 the American Broadcasting Company, The Jetsons was essentially The Flintstonesnote  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.

The show was originally canceled after one season due to low ratings, fueled in part because color televisions were still hard to come across in The '60s. 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 (1930) 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 1985 and 1987, 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 Jetsons: The Movie in 1990, complete with CGI, a Green Aesop, and late-80's pop singer Tiffany infamously given the (full) role of Judy Jetson over then-still-living original voice Janet Waldo. The Jetsons stayed dormant for almost 30 years after the movie, until 2017. After Warner Bros. released Direct to Video Crossovers with other Hanna-Barbera characters and WWE Superstars, the Jetsons starred in The Jetsons & WWE: Robo-WrestleMania!. Later that year, ABC greenlit a live-action sitcom about the family. 2017 saw the family return in comic book form as part of the Darker and Edgier Hanna-Barbera Beyond series.

The series was animated by four different studios: Wang Film Productions, Taiwan (35 episodes), Hanna-Barbera, USA (24 episodes), Toei Animation, Japan (10 episodes) and Hanna-Barbera Australia (6 episodes).

Here's... the... Trope List:

  • Actually, That's My Assistant: One episode features a company named Contempo Computers. Spacely and his rival Cosgwell want to do business with that company and all they know about their CEO is that he's a young and innovative man. At the company's headquarters, they meet a young man and a boy. The boy is the CEO of Contempo Computers.
  • Advertised Extra: In the original 1962-63 season, Rosie was treated as a main character but only appeared two times. She appeared much more often in the revival.
  • Aerith and Bob: The family’s names are George, Jane, Judy…and Elroy!!! One of those is not like the others!
  • Aliens Speaking English: Orbitty, the Jetsons' pet alien, speaks English (not perfectly, but still).
  • Alliterative Name:
    • Jane and Judy Jetson. And George.
    • The company where he works (Spacely [Space] Sprockets) and said company's rival (Cogswell ['s Cosmic] Cogs).
  • Animation Bump: Season 3 is this to season 2 due to the animation switching from Wang to Toei.
  • Art Evolution: Look at one of the earlier episodes of the first season, and look at one of the episodes of the last season, 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.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Rosie only appeared in two episodes of the original series. She's a regular in the 80s revival and even gets her share of limelight episodes.
    • RUDI. He briefly appears during the 60s episodes looking completely different than his later incarnation. In the 80s revival he's not only George's computer but also his best friend on the job.
  • Bad Mood Retreat: In "To Tell the Truth", Jane is sad because Elroy broke her pitcher. Rosie gives her a dome to cry in and after she's done crying, the dome breaks too.
  • Bad News, Irrelevant News:
    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!
  • Beauty Contest: The series put a slight twist on the trope in the episode "Miss Solar System". George entered as a judge, but wore a very Paper-Thin Disguise to prevent Jane finding out he'd spent an evening judging beautiful women. Meanwhile, Jane entered independently, and also wore a disguise in case George happened to see. Naturally, George declared Jane the winner, but they were both disqualified when they discovered they were married. Originally, Mr. Spacely was going to be the judge and wore a domino mask so he could be advertised as "The Mystery Judge." While signing autographs before the pageant, his wife found out and hauled him off, and George had to take over as judge in his place.
  • Caught on Tape: After being made the new office supervisor, Uniblab uses this to trick George (who has been made Uniblab's assistant) into loosening up and speaking his mind about Mr. Spacely while playing a few card games, while he has the tape recorder turned on.
    Uniblab: Time for fun, fun, fun. Name your game, name your game. Jupiter gin, Jupiter gin; planet poker, planet poker; 5 card satellite, 5 card satellite.
    George: But Spacely doesn't allow cards here, he hates them!
    Uniblab: Spacely's a stupe, stupe, stupe.
    George: Now you're talking, Uniblab. You know something, that's the first real brainwave you've had. Believe me, pal, not only is Spacely a stupe, but he's the king of the old crabs. You talk about pests, I mean he's impossible. Who do you think runs the business for him? Me, George Jetson, that's who! Besides that, he's a cheap—
    • A minute later, Uniblab plays back George's confession for Mr. Spacely, which gets him fired.
  • Caught Up in a Robbery:
    • George Jetson and Astro happen to be at a bank when the alarm rings. Two criminals dash from the building with Stock Money Bags in hand, and hop into their getaway car. Before departing, one crook asks the other if there are any witnesses, to which the reply is "Yeah, but we'll come back later 'n' rub 'em out." George and Astro panic and leave pronto, not seeing a director yell, "Cut!" The robbery was a staged event for a film.
    • In "Jane's Driving Lesson", Jane wants to get her license and a new car. While practicing, a robber leaps into her car and tries to force her to be his getaway driver. Jane's driving is so bad however that her driving instructor ends up feeling bad for the robber.
  • Celebrity Paradox: In an early episode The Flintstones is shown to be a TV show in their universe, and a movie in a flashback but they meet them in The Jetsons Meet the Flintstones.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Early in "A Date with Jet Screamer", Jane points out that George shouldn't complain about the music Judy and her friends like to listen to, as his own drumming sessions might not be music to their ears. His skill on the drums becomes important later when, while tailing Judy on her date with Jet, he arrives at a club at which Jet is performing Judy's contest-winning song. After being denied entry as a paying customer for being too old, he poses as a member of Jet's backing group to sneak in the back, then bribes Jet's usual drummer to take the night off before taking his place. Fortunately for all involved, George is a talented enough drummer that the performance of Judy's song is a resounding success.
  • Comedic Underwear Exposure: In "Instant Replay", Rosie angrily rips the dress off a snobbish socialite who had insulted the titular family. Both Jane and the woman had entered a party wearing identical dresses, which led to the whole conflict.
  • Company Cross References: In the episode "Miss Solar System," George Jetson compliments the disguise of the character Mr. Spacely by telling him that "as Yogi Bear would say, [he's] smarter than the average bear!", referencing another character created by Hanna-Barbera.
  • 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.
  • Cut a Slice, Take the Rest:
    • 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.
  • Darker and Edgier: Similar to The Flintstones DC comic series, the rebooted version of the Jetsons still has its moments of humor but takes the setting they're in much more seriously. For instance the reason everyone in the future lives in those Sky Pad homes is because the oceans rose over the centuries so much the Earth became 99.7% water. Also Rosie the maid is actually George's mother who downloaded her brain into the android because she was dying.
  • Day Hurts Dark-Adjusted Eyes: In "Test Pilot", Mr. Spacely takes some cash from his safe to offer George as a bonus if George agrees to become the titular pilot. The bills were inside the safe for so long that the man pictured at the top bill puts on sunglasses.
  • Depending on the Artist:
    • Toei Animation worked on the 3rd season, but did only two episodes in-house. The rest were outsourced to other (uncredited) studios. What follows is a list of the subcontractors the company used.
      • "Crime Games": Magic Bus
      • "ASTROnomical I.Q.": Madhouse
      • "9 to 5 to 9": In house
      • "Invisibly Yours, George": Toei Animation Philippines
      • "Father/Daughter Dance": Madhouse
      • "Clean as a Hound's Tooth": Ajia-Do
      • "Wedding Bells for Rosie": In house
      • "The Odd Pod": Studio Junio
      • "Two Many Georges": Ajia-Do
      • "Spacely for a Day": Ajia-Do, Flying Dragon
    • Any time John K.'s hands are on a Wang-produced episode from the second season, expect his trademark Deranged Animation to show up at least once per episode.
  • Deranged Animation: The John K.-produced Flash shorts from the early 2000s, as expected from him. Particularly evident in the first couple minutes of "The Best Son".
    • It goes back even further; John K. did layout work on the second season of The Jetsons in 1985, and also supervised the animation of his scenes at Wang Film Productions in Taiwan, so of course his Signature Style would often pop up in the 1985 episodes animated at Wang. Needless to say, this was the only Hanna-Barbera show John K. enjoyed working on, and his style would be adapted, for better or worse, into the Wang house style for the better part of a decade afterward.
  • 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?!?
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: The Jetsons' doorbell chimes four notes of the theme song.
  • Dinner with the Boss: George let his boss Mr. Spacely go have dinner with his family in the pilot episode.
  • Disastrous Demonstration:
    • In the 1962 episode "Uniblab", Mr. Spacely is trying to persuade the other members of the board of directors at Spacely Sprockets that the robotic employee in the episode's title is the way forward for the company. However, George, who has lost his job to Uniblab and is in the office to clear out his desk, conspires with Henry Orbit to spike the robot's oil. The "drunk" Uniblab spends the entire demonstration suffering from Alcohol Hics, gives the baseball scores when Spacely asks for the latest stock market figures, sprays the board with hot coffee, and plays a recording of George calling Spacely "a stupe" and "king of the crabs" on a continuous loop. The unimpressed board members tell Spacely to fire Uniblab.
    • The 1985 episode "Hi-Tech Wreck" sees Spacely aspiring to win over the Megabucks Group, a consortium of wealthy investors, by interesting them in his "Executive Perks" programme of in-office luxuries, including massages, food and drink, and dancing girls. However, RUDI lacks the computing power to handle the routine at anything other than the lowest setting, so when Megabucks Group head Mr. Bigbyte cranks it to the highest setting, the system overloads and he is beaten hollow by the various luxury machines, scuppering the deal.
  • Disguised in Drag: George passing himself off as "Georgina Jetstream" in "Solar Snoops."
  • Dress-O-Matic: Auto-dressing devices are the norm in the shows universe. George Jetson passes through one each morning to be attired in his workday outfit. A catch though is that the clothes must be properly placed in the machine for it to work, as George once recalled a Noodle Incident where his shoes ended up on his ears. In one episode, Jane Jetson stands still while a mobile device changes her outfits in a clothing store.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Both Mr. Spacely and Sgt. Uniblab fill this trope in "G.I. Jetson", with this role actually being in-character for the former.
  • Driven to Suicide: In "Rosie Come Home", Rosie resigns as the Jetsons' maid after misinterpreting their attempt to buy her a new master cylinder (she's long overdue for a replacement) as an attempt to buy a new robot maid. However, her malfunctioning master cylinder makes her unable to hold down another job, and with no money, no home, and no prospects, she makes her way to a junkyard and throws herself into a crusher. Fortunately, the Jetsons arrive just in time to see her jump, and while Orbitty holds the plates of the crusher apart, Astro and the four human Jetsons pull her out. One cleared misunderstanding and new master cylinder later, she's back to her old job and her old self.
    • Played for laughs in "S.M.A.S.H." when George figures that the only mature way to get out of explaining why Spacely's new car is a total wreck is to kill himself.
  • Dub Name Change: In Latin America:
    • The show was renamed "Los Supersónicos" (The Supersonics).
    • George as Super Sónico.
    • Elroy as Cometín Sónico.
    • Judy as Lucero Sónico.
    • Jane as Ultra Sónico.
    • Rosie as Robotina.
    • Mr. Spacely as Sr. Espacial in the 60s version, and Sr. Júpiter in the 80s version (And again Sr. Espacial in Jetsons: The Movie).
    • Mr. Cogswell as Cosme Cósmico in the 60s version, however, it stayed untranslated in the 80s version.
  • Expecting Someone Taller: In "Elroy's Pal", whenever anyone sees Nimbus the Great in person, they always say that he looks bigger on TV.
  • Exty Years from Publication: The show started in 1962. Naturally, it was set in 2062.
  • Failed Future Forecast: In Rockin' with Judy Jetson, a Russian newscaster addresses his viewers as "Comrades", implying that Russia is still communistic in the future (though he might just be using it as a stuffy word for "friends").
  • Flintstone Theming: Cosmos and planets; the Little Dipper School shown in the intro is but one example.
  • Flooded Future World: In the comic book adaptation, the reason the family lives in the sky is due to flooding. This isn't the case in the cartoon, where the surface is seen and looks fine.
  • "Flowers for Algernon" Syndrome: This happened in the episode Astronomical I.Q., when Elroy's latest invention has made Astro into a super-genius, but that brings nothing but trouble for The Jetsons when he made Rosey upset with her upgrades; this also costs George his job (as always) and almost everything (even his apartment).
  • Follow That Car: In "A Date With Jet Screamer", while tailing Judy on her date, George follows the pair to a rocket ride at the amusement park. After their rocket goes up, George jumped into a second rocket, shouting "Follow that rocket!". Unfortunately for him, the rocket he chose is out of order.
  • Food Pills: Yet oddly, Jane managed to mess them up somehow.
  • Foot Bath Treatment: In "Elroy's Pal," Elroy wins a visit from TV superhero "Nimbus the Great." But on the day he is supposed to visit, Nimbus gets sick. He is seen at home with his feet in a foot bath.
  • Forgotten Birthday: Happens to Judy in "Judy's Birthday Surprise".
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: George (sanguine), Jane (melancholic), Elroy (phlegmatic), Judy (leucine), and Mr. Spacely (choleric).
  • French Maid and French Maid Outfit: When Jane goes shopping for a robot, in the first episode ("Rosey the Robot"), one of the models is a French maid robot in a metallic French maid outfit.
  • Funny Robot: Rosie the Robot. A domestic-bot in a futuristic world, her humor often came from often being more rational and cool-headed than her human owners.
  • Futuristic Superhighway: George had to deal with traffic jams even with a flying car.
  • Future Society, Present Values:
    • So, why didn't Jane learn to drive (pilot?) in High School? Perhaps because she was pregnant with Judy at the time (see Writers Cannot Do Math below)? The above is averted in The '80s 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".
  • Future Slang: Tons, most memorably "Eep, op, ork, ah-ah! And that means I love you!"
  • Game Show Appearance: In "Family Fallout", the Jetsons compete against the Spacelys at the eponymous game show.
  • George Jetson Job Security: Trope Namer. Has anyone ever actually tried to count all the times George gets fired by his boss throughout the series? Or threatened to?
  • Glitch Episode: In "Rosie, Come Home", Rosie the Robot Maid becomes very clumsy and keeps repeating herself. It turns out that one of her components needs replacing, but when George and Jane try to buy a new one, the salesman wants to sell them a whole new robot. Rosie overhears him talking to them and runs away.
  • Godwin's Law of Facial Hair: Mr. Spacey is George Jetson's verbally abusive boss who regularly loses his temper towards George. Spacey is usually depicted with the Toothbrush Mustache to further mock his role as the boss of the company.
  • Grade-School C.E.O.: One episode features a company headed by a boy around Elroy's age.
  • Height Angst: Cosmo G. Spacely is barely one-third of George Jetson's height, which adds to the triggers for Spacely to fire Jetson once per episode.
  • Hired Help as Family: The family has a Robot Maid named Rosie, who they consider to be practically family as shown when they refuse to replace her despite more advanced technology existing and they are sad when she runs away.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: Plenty of proverbs Recycled In Space: "That's the way the satellite spins."
  • Hollywood Genetics: Why are Elroy and Judy blondes when their parents are both redheads?
    • One possibility could be that either the kids are adopted or Jane and/or Judy dyes her hair.
  • Honesty Aesop: In the episode "To Tell the Truth", Elroy breaks Jane's favourite pitcher and tells the truth but she's mad anyway. The repairman says to George that lying is better than telling the truth, but then when George tells the truth about why he's late for their date, she's pleased he told the truth.
  • Hope Spot: In "Private Property", after George has lost his vice-presidency, he meets a surveyor, who tells him that Cogswell's building is 6 inches over 2,200 feet and must be torn down. George rushes over to Mr. Spacely with the news, only for Spacely to furiously erupt when he tells George that he just bought Cogswell's building, which will be torn down, and Spacely will lose his investment, while George finds himself demoted to Spacely's office assistant.
  • Humans Are White: There are no black people in The Jetsons. You know, just like every other TV show created in the early '60s. They did add some more diversity in the 80s episodes, though.
  • Impossibly-Compact Folding: George's Flying Car folds up into a briefcase, as seen in the opening credits when he arrives at work.
  • In Medias Res: "Hi-Tech Wreck" opens with George in an Outer Moongolian Express shuttle, begging Mr. Spacely for one last chance to dig himself out of the hole he has dug for himself and the company. After Spacely relents, George returns home and, over dinner, tells his family (in a Flashback) that Mr. Spacely is threatening to send him to Outer Moongolia to sell sprockets door to door because R.U.D.I. is unable to handle the strain of the Executive Perks module Spacely wants to show off to some wealthy investors.
  • Laugh Track: As typical with many Hanna-Barbera comedies of the time, the original series had one, though it was later removed when the series was remastered in the 90's. Averted with the 1980's episodes.
  • Living Mood Ring: Orbitty's species changes color to express emotions. Yellow stands for fear, pink for affection, black for anger, green for envy, and blue for sadness (although it can also mean "far away" when he's on tracking mode).
  • Loose Canon: The Jetsons Meet the Flintstones is of doubtful canonicity, with it being uncertain where it fits in timeline-wise, and whether it even is canon. Some fans see it as a Non-Serial Movie, but it has never been officially stated if it is non-canon, leaving its status in canon limbo.
  • Mean Boss: Mr. Spacely's no doubt one of animation's biggest examples of this, with him constantly firing George for the most trivial of reasons. And again, Mr. Cogswell.
  • Metaphorically True: In the first episode, Judy asks Jane if she can go swimming after school, and she says she can if George says yes. Judy goes to George, who is sleeping, and asks if he's sleeping. He says "yes" to that, and then Judy tells Jane that he said "yes", not making it clear what he said yes to (and Jane did not say what he had to say yes to).
  • Miserable Massage: One episode has George Jetson at work, enjoying a massage in his reclining chair from a motorized roller. Mister Spacely walks in, clearly displeased, and presses a button that makes the roller pound on George's midsection, then sits him bolt upright. You're a mean one, Mister Spacely...
  • Mystery Box: In "Family Fallout", the Jetsons and the Spacelys entered a game show and the Jetsons won. George then had a choice: collect the Grand Prize or whatever was behind the force field. If he picked the force field, Mr. Spacely would get the Grand Prize. Fearing for his job, George chose the prize hidden behind the force field. The force field then revealed a new stove (it was earlier shown to the viewers that the Jetsons needed one) and Mr. Spacely got a set of Cogswell products.
  • The Napoleon: Mr. Spacely is barely half as tall as George (or Mrs. Spacely) and has one of the shortest tempers and greatest desires for wealth and power of the primary cast.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: George is arguably the antagonist in "A Date With Jet Screamer" when he sabotages Judy's entry to a lyric-writing contest to keep her from getting a date with the title Teen Idol. Judy's original lyrics probably wouldn't have won, given that they were generic and frankly terrible. George's fake entry, on the other hand, is a lot quirkier and unusual, and wins the contest easily.
  • 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  in public places. Far worse when you think hovercraft accidents may leave the occupants hurtling through the glass domes, and down thousands of feet.
  • "Pan from the Sky" Beginning: Every episode begins with a shot of Earth, then it pans down to the family in their Flying Car.
  • Pet the Dog: Spacely will have a moment or two that shows he's not such a bad guy.
  • Plane Awful Flight: In one episode, Mr. Spacely ends up on one of these, stuck between two fat guys, because he tried to save money by flying a cheap air/space-line.
  • Professional Slacker: In the TV opening when George arives at his job, he tosses his briefcase-transformed car on his desk, sits back and slacks off.
  • Property Line: In "Private Property", Spacely is upset when Cogswell constructs a new skyscraper, so he hires George to look over the blueprints. At first, George thinks that Spacely has the larger property and Cogswell's building is infringing on it by 6 inches... until Harlan points out that Cogswell has been reading the blueprints upside-down, which means Cogswell has the larger lot, and Spacely's building is 6 inches on Cogswell's property. Out of desperation, Spacely reluctantly buys Cogswell's building, which George learns from the surveyor is 6 inches too high and must be dismantled, only to learn that Cogswell's building now belongs to Spacely and will have to be torn down, which results in a humiliating loss for Spacely.
  • Rapid-Fire Nail Biting: In one of the 1980's episodes, Judy Jetson does this hoping her father George doesn't embarrass her with his dancing at her party.
  • Raygun Gothic: The show is pretty much a perfect example of the era's sci-fi aesthetic.
  • Rearrange the Song: The '80s seasons had the same theme song but some of the instruments were changed to synthesized ones, in an effort to keep up with the then-current trends in music.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: In "Hi-Tech Wreck", Spacely tells George that if R.U.D.I. goofs up, his family will be reassigned to Outer Moongolia. After a presentation goes haywire when the board of directors demands that R.U.D.I. (who is in danger of overloading his circuits) operates the executive perks program at full power, and R.U.D.I. short-circuits, with Spacely exiling the Jetsons to Outer Moongolia. Subverted when R.U.D.I. threatens to meltdown and destroy Spacely Sprockets, which leads Spacely to re-hire George, who fixes R.U.D.I. at the last minute, and bring his family back to Earth.
  • Recycled In Space: The Jetsons are The Flintstones IN THE FUTURE!
  • Repetitive Audio Glitch:
    • In "Uniblab", the titular robot gets stuck repeating "Spacely's a stupe" (one of the things it recorded George Jetson saying) after George and Henry Orbit get Uniblab drunk (or, rather, the robot equivalent of drunk) just before Spacely shows off the robot to the board members of Spacely Sprockets.
    • In "Elroy's Mob", Elroy's (robot) teacher, Miss Brainmocker, has a short circuit in one of her transistors that manifests as if her voice were a stuck record, requiring her to perform Percussive Maintenance on herself. She is unamused when Class Clown Kenny Countdown mimics her malfunction and smacks his own head to "resolve" it.
    • When it emerges that Rosie's master cylinder is thousands of miles overdue for a replacement in "Rosie Come Home", one of the ways the problem manifests itself is by Rosie's speech getting stuck repeating the same words.
  • Ridiculous Future Sequelisation: In one episode George watches a clip from Rocky 912.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots
  • Rings of Activation: Propulsion from jet packs or flying vehicles is depicted as white rings expanding from the exhaust.
  • The Rival:
    • 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.
  • Robot Maid: Rosie, who's iconic enough to also be the trope image. She's a robot and her job is to keep the house clean.
  • 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)
  • Second Place Is for Winners: In "Family Fallout", after the Jetsons win the game, Cosmo is pressured by his wife and mother-in-law to ask George to take the second-place prize while the Spacelys get the first-place prize. Just as Jane is rebuking George for caving in under pressure, the second-place prize is revealed to be a new "Food-A-Rack-A-Cycle" food processor to Jane's elation since that was what the family was hoping to win, while the Spacelys end up with a lifetime supply of Cogswell Cogs.
  • Shameful Shrinking: The visual shorthand version happens to Judy in Rockin' with Judy Jetson when she's humiliated by Sky Rocker singing the wrong song.
  • Shown Their Work: Though the series regularly fell over Writers Cannot Do Math, Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale, and Techno Babble, the writers did occasionally include genuine science facts. For example, in "Family Fallout", the Jetsons' and the Spacelys' appearance on the eponymous quiz show opens with a question asking for Kepler's Third Law of Planetary Motion. Rosie buzzes in and correctly states that according to Kepler's Third Law, the squares of the periods of any two planets in the Solar System are proportional to the cubes of their mean distances to the Sun.note 
  • Small Role, Big Impact: The cat burglar who appeared in Astro's debut episode. He only appears in that episode but it's because of his attempt to rob the Jetsons back then they decided to keep Astro instead of an "appartment approved electronic dog" as their pet.
  • Spiritual Antithesis: The Jetsons is this to The Flintstones. Both are animated sitcoms created by Hanna-Barbera about an average family living in a distant time based on the values of America in The '60s. The most obvious contrast is the time period (Hollywood Prehistory vs. The Future), but there's more to it than that. The Flintstones lead a very blue-collar lifestyle due to Fred's manual labor job and their friendships with the Rubbles are a key part of the plot. The Jetsons, on the other hand, are more white-collar and, while not anti-social, George is less connected with the world and doesn't seem to have any close relationships beyond his family and his job. Also, Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm are pre-verbal infants, and Judy and Elroy are high school and elementary school-aged, respectively. Finally, Fred and Wilma start as pet owners and become parents later, while George and Jane are the opposite.
  • Stupid Future People: The show tried to show this by having the worst problems in society being getting tired of pushing buttons all the time, portraying it as being joint-breaking labor that the characters did nothing but complain about. Ha ha, ignorant future people don't know what work is.
  • Taxman Takes the Winnings: An episode has Jane and George making it big on betting in races (using a pair of glasses that can see a few minutes into the future) and running away from a pair of men that they think belongs to The Mafia... only to find out that the men belongs to the Intergalactic Revenue Service and that the government's cut of their winnings leaves them with only two (space) dollars.
  • Theme Tune Roll Call: Meet George Jetson, his boy Elroy, daughter Judy, Jane, his wife.
  • There Was a Door: Mac, Henry's robot assistant, has trouble getting places, and he usually crashes through the walls, and right after he says, "Open door."
  • The Teaser: Much like its sister cartoon, the original series opened episodes this way. When the show went into syndication, all of the teasers were cut, and so far only one episode on DVD retains its teaser.
  • Through a Face Full of Fur: Common with Orbitty, as he has the special ability to change into various colors, depending on his mood.
    • In "Astronomical I.Q.", an angry Spacely's face turns red as he yells George's surname as usual and gets aggravated by a mishap caused by the now highly intelligent Astro.
  • Title Sequence Replacement:
    • 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 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 teasers still missing.
    • The 1990 movie has a completely remade version of the intro animation, which features some CG. Notably, Jane kisses George instead of taking his wallet.
  • Token Robot: The titular family live with one another, two pets (a dog and an alien) and a Robot Maid named Rosie.
  • Treadmill Trauma: The end title sequence shows George walking Astro in a treadmill when Astro sees a cat and goes after it, leaving poor George caught in the conveyor belt, going round and round screaming, "Jane, stop this crazy thing!"
  • Un-Cancelled: So long as you accept that the prime time episodes and the 1980's syndication episodes are in the same series. Very easy given all episodes were shown as part of the same series; and the fact the original voice cast was reunited for the second and third season.
  • Undesirable Prize: In "Family Fallout", Mr. Spacely has this opinion of the titular game show's grand prize once he learns it consists of several Cogswell products.
  • Unplanned Crossdressing: The automatic grooming device(s) would occasionally dress George in Jane's clothes and/or give him her hairstyle.
    • It also happened to Judy when the device accidentally dressed her in George's tuxedo. Bizarrely, it actually fit her better than you'd expect.
  • Used Future:
    • 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.
  • Video Phone: Fitting with the cartoon's Raygun Gothic aesthetic.
    • Taken to ridiculous ends all the times Mr Spacely is able to reach through the screen and physically throttle George.
    • 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.
  • Vocal Evolution: Naturally, due to the two decade gap, some of the characters' voices have aged somewhat in the revival seasons and movie. Mel Blanc's voice for Mr Spacely in particular evolved a fair deal throughout the series. He sounds almost unrecognisably soft spoken in the first few episodes, only resorting to his typical bellow when yelling at George. By the revival seasons, he is perpetually hoarse and has gained something of a Brooklyn accent.
  • Web Games: Two Flash-based games were released in 1998 on the Cartoon Network website: Mealtime Malfunction and Jetsons Space Race.
  • We Will All Fly in the Future: When we're not using moving sidewalks, everyone gets around with flying cars or jetpacks.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Orbitty, the Jetsons' alien pet that was added in the second season, doesn't appear in the third season (aside from one cameo) or any of the movies.
  • Who Names Their Dog "Dude"?: Astro, orginally known as Tralfaz in "Millionaire Astro", when he belonged to J.P. Gottrockets, as his attorney reminds them.
    Astro: Tralfaz? Yecch!
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: Jane is thirty-three and Judy is sixteen. One expects Hanna-Barbera didn't intend for Jane to have become a mother at the age of seventeen, especially since George is seven years older than her...
  • Zeerust: To the point where the Smithsonian's Paleofuture blog is running an episode-by-episode analysis of the original 1962 series and the effect it had on people's perceptions of the future.

— George Jetson getting dragged by the treadmill at the end of every episode in the original series.


Video Example(s):


"You and what army, shorty?"

Spacely and Cogswell are about to brawl when they go through a size-changing machine and Cogswell asks Spacely this question.

How well does it match the trope?

4.88 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / YouAndWhatArmy

Media sources: