Ultra-depressing vistas from the Flintstones theme park that miraculously still exists…
Last week, news broke that Bedrock City, an all-but-forgotten Flintstones-themed Arizona “amusement” park was, at long last, up for sale. Obviously, this is newsworthy for us and there’s one of two ways to deal with such an earth shattering event. We could rally together the troops and create a crowdfunding campaign to buy the park for its TWO MILLION DOLLAR asking price like true Princes of Irony? Or, and more likely, we can use it as yet another excuse to shit on the Flintstones… Yeah, let’s do that one!
1. Costumes: It Gets Better!
I can write endlessly about the fucking Flintstones, and I most certainly am about to, although I honestly would expect a normal person to care enough to actually read it. So, I encourage all but the most cartoon obsessed among you to just scroll through and enjoy the Hanna-Barbera horror as if it were a Buzzfeed listicle if that so behooves you. Life is about options!
2. Fred’s House. Wilma is forced to shit outside
Okay, look: Laser Time listeners are probably well aware that we love our theme parks. Those proud few are also no doubt well informed on how we feel about the fucking Flintstones. Hey, we stroke the ol’ nostalgia boner as good as any website inconsistently updated by manchildren in their thirties, but The Flintstones has earned a special place of ire in many of our hearts, mine especially.
3. Sadness, circa 1975
I imagine folks in their twenties have a passing familiarity with The Flintstones, but when I was a young boy growing up in the 1980s, Fred, Barney, Wilma, Betty *drool* and Dino were fucking ubiquitous in during the 80s. Same could be said for He-Man, Smurfs, Transformers, etc. But there are several major differences here. First off, those other aforementioned shows were actually premiering new episodes. Whether it was via syndication or the early days of cable, The Flintstones was just on every day. Multiple times. That may seem obvious to point out, but what dipshit kid without no internet connection could know the show had actually ceased production in 1966?
4. Sadness, circa 2015
Second, I’m sure Smurfette and Skeletor had their own Spaghetti-Os and appeared on many a Thermos lunchbox, but that was just those cartoon characters lending their likeness to an existing product. The Flintstones became products. And to this day, I have to imagine kids under 10 only know Fred Flintstone as that caveman on the front of their vitamins, Pebbles cereal, and sherberty push-up popsicles (EDIT: The Flintstones no longer rep Nestle’s Push-up popsicles and that is the extent of the journalistic research I’ll be doing for this piece.)
5. Mount Rockmore, Home of the Paper Mache-asaurus
But the biggest difference between The Flintstones and all the other shit we actually loved during the 80s is… well, we actually loved that other stuff. Kids had them on their folders, juice boxes and backpacks, and I can honestly say I never spoke to one kid who genuinely liked the show. And this is coming from a dork who started a Boglins fan club, so believe me when I say that if there were any Flintstone affection floating around out there, I would’ve fucking heard about it.
6. Barney “On Model” Rubble!
It was passive viewing, plain and simple. And while The Flintstones is neither special, nor egregious in that regard. There are dozens of shows we braved through without emotion while waiting for better entertainment to come on. Such was life in a time before 800 channels and on-demand streaming!
7. Watch The Flintstones In The Flintstones House!
What I most resent The Flintstones for is occupying such a large swathe of our nostalgia. The original Transformers cartoon is pretty dogshit too, but it was still fresh, new, cool, and belongs to my generation warts and all. The Flintstones belong to my parents’ nostalgia, yet it was mercilessly thrust upon us all. And that’s bullshit.
8. Pebbles The Sun-Bleached Baby!
Hell, for some of you, The Flintstones is actually part of your grandparents’ nostalgia. Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny, and even Woody Woodpecker and Betty Boop are simultaneously dated and products of their time. Yet they were exceptional then, and that can occasionally shine through when viewed today. Fred Flintstone was simply first (to animated prime-time TV) and sometimes that’s enough to leave an indelible mark on history. But it shouldn’t necessarily secure a slot in the public consciousness for all eternity. After all, do we still celebrate the first comic strip or web cartoon? The Flintstones was, is, and will always be, hot garbage that only persevered only in the face of no competition.
9. It Wouldn’t Be An Amusement Park Without A School!
The Flintstones is a bold-faced Honeymooners rip-off with a prehistoric conceit. The only thing it recycles more than its almost inert animation are its tired 1950s sitcom scenarios, which only occasionally utilizing its plethora of dinosaurs to break that mold and using a little slapstick when the show could be bothered to draw anything other than a moving mouth. The show had such little respect for its audience, it even added a wish-granting alien and a fucking laugh track.
10. Somewhere Beneath The Dust And Decay There’s Probably A Joke Inside
For the 30+ years I’ve been alive, The Flintstones have maintained a place in the cultural zeitgeist despite producing nothing to have earned it. Every attempt to revive the show during my lifetime has failed miserably, or at best, is fucking embarrassing. Please don’t make me go into specifics. Please take me on my word that everything that followed the original series, whether a spin-off, repackaging or a live-action movie, is utterly forgettable pop culture driftwood.
11. One Of Many Car-Shaped Benches Strewn Throughout Bedrock City
Now, The Flintstones were not without their milestones. They’re probably the first cartoon characters to hock cigarettes, I believe it was the first show depict a man and a woman sleeping in the same bed (Yabba-Dabba-DAYMN!), and yes, it was the longest running animated prime-time sitcom until The Simpsons came along, and thank Christ, obliterated every notable record held by the glorified sitcom parody for ever after.
12. It Wouldn’t Be The Stone Age Without A Payphone (And I Guarantee It’s Still There)
And holy shit, am I glad. Before The Simpsons had doubled anything remotely remarkable about The Flintstones, there wasn’t a single article written about the Simpsons’ popularity that didn’t mention The Flintstones in the opening paragraph. Thank God Almighty that doesn’t happen anymore, but it absolutely did for the first decade of The Simpsons’ existence, and duh, that would seem like an insane eternity were we talking about any other show.
13. I’m Only Calling It A “Theme Park” Because They Do
The point is, fifty years from now, the content, process, and legacy of The Simpsons will still be considered groundbreaking and worthy or reverence, whereas The Flintstones are already culturally irrelevant. But let’s say something nice about The Flintstones, shall we? I love cartoons. When handled properly, they should be timeless. So while I maintain the Flintstones is as fun (or less) to watch as My Three Sons, The Donna Reed Show, and other dated drivel I’d never seek out or even be remotely familiar with had Nickelodeon flipped a cartoon-killing switch at 8PM back in the day, it is not without a few timeless qualities. Okay, maybe just one quality: The look.
14. Sorry, The Gasoline Is Still Cooking
Or maybe its the setting? While hardly impressive, the kitsch 1960s art is not without its charm, dinosaurs will never not be cool, and the places, objects, and prehistoric contraptions found around Bedrock are admittedly novel. (“It’s a living!”) If I’m being honest, yes, I’d probably rather visit a recreation of Bedrock than Springfield. And given The Flintstones longevity, it absolutely made sense that they’d occupy a theme park. MADE sense.
15. While in Bedrock City, Ride Fred’s Job!
Despite my distaste for almost all of Hanna-Barbera’s animated output, I can absolutely understand infusing a theme park with Flintstones, Scooby Doo, Yogi Bear, The Smurfs, etc. However, I do an exhaustive, unhealthy amount of research on old ass theme parks, and those places have been in the process of closing since 1987. Canada’s Wonderland, Kings Dominion, all those other jerkwater glorified county fairs I’ve never been to have all replaced The Flintstones with something more current or beloved. Usually with Snoopy or Nickelodeon stuff.
16. The Hottest Woman In Bedrock Poses With A Tumbleweed
Universal Studios Florida’s Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera has been closed for so long, the ride that replaced it was also closed years ago (Thank you, Minions!) In other words, throughout the known universe The Flintstones have been ripped out of amusement park existence. Except for one place. Bedrock City. Only in America…
17. Flintstones’ Interior: Boxes Covered In Shaving Cream And Pastel Paint
Well, two actually. Apparently South Dakota has one of these rotting, irrelevant campgrounds in operation too, but much like the Bedrock Cities shuttered in Canada, they’ve left almost no footprint on the internet. I’m guessing that’s because the Venn diagram overlap of people who can upload pictures and care about The Flintstones simply doesn’t exist.
18. Bamm-Bamm Is Tweaked To High Heaven
Rest assured, I want to make fun of Bedrock City so fucking bad. But look at this place. Either the proprietor is so pathetically affixed to his Flintstones license he’d rather have it pried from his cold dead hand rocks, or sadder still, this is a labor of pure love. If that’s the case, then he makes the guy who built a Rock-afire Explosion behind his house look like a MOMA art curator.
19. Tribute Turned Graveyard
There’s something about Bedrock City I can relate to. I remember trying to recreate the glory of Eternia in my room, but I’d inevitably realize I only had seven He-man figures and my family was too poor to afford any of the playsets. I was we left with a sad, flat diorama built upon on a barren desert of good intentions. There by the grace of God goes Bedrock City.
20. The Website (Click To Buy)
The difference there is I lost interest immediately. I also haven’t been paying Hanna-Barbera since 1972 to continue operating it, nor am I still charging the general public $5 a pop to watch it decompose when the Grand Canyon is only thirty miles away. I’m also not trying to sell it for TWO MILLION DOLLARS. Okay, I’ve come back around to hating this place…
IN SUMMATION: The Flintstones? Fuck ’em! Bedrock City? Burn it to the ground.
WE DARE YOU TO BUY FLINTSTONES SHIT ON AMAZON!!