As you may already know from having visited Google, it’s The Flintstones’ 50th anniversary. I watched Flintstones reruns—and various later spinoffs—as a kid, but I hadn’t revisited Bedrock until a couple of years ago, when the Tuned In Jrs. went through a brief Flintstones phase. I can’t say it holds up as well for me as, say Rocky and Bullwinkle, but seeing it as an adult I was impressed with how much it was like a regular old live-action sitcom of its time.
Animated sitcoms today tend to be different in scope and tone from their live counterparts (even The Simpsons has become less family-comedy and more satire over the years): Family Guy, Futurama, South Park, to say nothing of late-night Adult Swim-type cartoons. But The Flintstones, apart from its zany setting, was really very much a family sitcom of its time, down to the laugh track, domestic job-and-marriage plots and occasional guest stars. (In fact, given the ’60s trend for family sitcoms in fantastical scenarios—witches, genies, aliens, monsters, &c.—it was even more typical, if not ahead of its time.)
But if you really want to see just how adult Fred and Barney could be, check out the astonishing Winston cigarette commercial above. And for extra credit, see time.com’s list of 10 great cartoon theme songs. Yabba-dabba-don’t smoke, kids!