The Jetsons

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The modern Space Age family.

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 ABC, The Jetsons was essentially The Flintstones transferred to an idealized vision of the 21st century, with flying cars, conveyor-belt sidewalks and fancy appliances. George Jetson and his family live in an ultra-high-rise apartment complex with their dog, Astro, and their robot maid, Rosie.

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 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 the mid-1980s, 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 an animated Jetsons feature film in 1990, complete with Conspicuous CG, a Green Aesop played out with a Gang of Critters, and reuniting nearly all of the original cast members save for '80s pop starlet Tiffany voicing Judy Jetson thanks to Executive Meddling. The film also marked the last performance ever of noted voice artist Mel Blanc (Mr. Spacely), who was still recording while in the hospital as he had years before then, as well as George O' Hanlon (George), who by that point had to have the lines read and acted to him before recording, and passed away in the recording booth after his last line. Penny Singleton did not die during production like Blanc and O'Hanlon, but the movie remained her last acting role until her death thirteen years later.

A prospective Live Action Adaptation, with Robin Williams as George Jetson, was apparently axed in favor of the fourth Spy Kids film.

The Jetsons is the Trope Namer for:
Tropes used in The Jetsons include:
  • Aliens Speaking English
  • Alliterative Name: Jane and Judy Jetson.
  • Anti-Gravity Clothing: The rings around some outfits.
  • Art Evolution: Look at one of the earlier episodes of the first season, and look at one of the episodes of the last season 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.
  • Bare Your Midriff Judy's default outfit does this.
  • Big Friendly Dog: Astro.
  • Black Bead Eyes: Elroy.
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Judy, except when she isn't being bratty.
  • Bumbling Dad: George, definitely.
  • Catch Phrase: "Jane! Stop this crazy thing!"
  • 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.
  • Cowboy Episode: "Dude Planet"
  • 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.
    • Also used in this Jetson's sponsor's tag for Saran Wrap.
  • The Danza: George O'Hanlon as George Jetson.
  • Disguised in Drag: George passing himself off as "Georgina Jetstream" in "Solar Snoops."
  • Disney Acid Sequence: The song Eep Opp Ork Ah-Ah from A Date With Jet Screamer
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Jane never seems to be wearing shoes. Only leggings or stockings over her feet and legs.
  • Exty Years From Now: The show started in 1962. Naturally, it was set in 2062.
  • Food Pills: Yet oddly Jane managed to mess them up somehow.
  • Futuristic Superhighway: George had to deal with traffic jams even with a flying car.
  • Future Slang: Tons, most memorably "Eep, op, ork, ah-ah! And that means I love you!"
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: The "cheeky" French Maid robot in the episode that introduces Rosie[1].
  • Hanna-Barbera: Produced the series
  • Happily Married: George and Jane.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Jane, mostly.
    • George, definitely.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: Plenty of proverbs Recycled in Space: "That's the way the satellite spins."
  • Hot Mom: Jane almost won a beauty contest, if her husband hadn't been a judge.
  • Jerkass: Cogswell
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Spacely may be a jerk, but not as big of a jerk as his rival, Cogswell.
  • Mean Boss: Mr. Spacely's no doubt one of animation's biggest examples of this.
    • And again, Mr. Cogswell
  • Mel Blanc: Mr. Spacely. If you listen closely, you can hear some similarities between Spacely and Yosemite Sam.
    • And, as noted above, Spacely was the last character Blanc ever voiced. He actually died partway through production of the movie, so some of Spacely's lines were done by a sound-alike. The same thing happened to George O'Hanlon (the voice of George Jetson) on the movie.
  • The Movie: Jetsons: The Movie (1990)
  • The Napoleon: Mr. Spacely
  • 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 railings in public places.
    • Far worse when you think hovercraft accidents may leave the occupants hurtling through the glass domes, and down thousands of feet. Or maybe there's an anti gravity machine?
  • Overprotective Dad: As boy-crazed as Judy is, George has every reason to be this.
  • Raygun Gothic: The show is pretty much a perfect example of the era's sci-fi aesthetic.
  • Recycled in Space: The Jetsons are The Flintstones IN THE FUTURE!
  • Redheaded Heroes: George and Jane.
  • Ridiculously-Human Robots
  • The Rival: Mr. Cogswell/Cogswell Cogs to Mr. Spacely/Spacely Sprockets
  • Robot Maid: Rosie.
  • Round Bushy Hair: Elroy.
  • Society Marches On: So, why didn't Jane learn to drive (pilot?) in High School?
    • Because she was pregnant with Judy at the time (see below).
    • The above is averted in The Eighties 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.
  • Speech-Impaired Animal: Astro, actually pre-dating Hanna-Barbera's more famous canine example of this.
  • Theme Tune Roll Call: "Meet George Jetson; his boy Elroy; daughter Judy; Jane, his wife."
  • Through a Face Full of Fur: Common with Orbitty, as he has the special ability to change into various colors, depending on his mood.
  • Tin Can Robot: Rosie
  • 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 season 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 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 Cold Openings still missing.
    • The new title cards were commissioned for the '60s episodes because the original title cards incorrectly credited writers.
    • The 1990 movie has a completely remade version of the intro animation, which features some Conspicuous CG. Notably, Jane kisses George instead of taking his wallet.
  • Uncanceled: Decades later
  • 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.
  • White-Haired Pretty Girl: Judy.
  • 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...
    • It's not like High School is that important where jobs consist of pressing buttons.
    • She could also be adopted or from a previous marriage of George's.
    • Jane might be deliberately fudging her real age, and George just goes along with this.
      • This is Hanna-Barbera we're talking about. It was more likely that they simply just didn't think about it, or it was just Rule of Funny again; maybe both.
    • Or it won't become so uncommon in the future.
  • Zeerust: And how!

The 1990 film provides examples of:[edit | hide | hide all]

  • 2-D Space: Even in a future with flying cars there are still roads and traffic jams.
  • The Ace: Apollo Blue and Teddy-2.
  • Alliterative Name: Jane and Judy Jetson.
    • Also Furgie Furbalow.
  • Ambiguous Gender: If Furgie's dad didn't says she was a girl, most people would have never known she was[2].
  • Animation Bump: Watch an earlier episode of the first season of the show, then look at this movie and see how much the animation quality improved.
  • Big Damn Movie: The original show = basically The Flintstones in space. The Movie = taking down a corrupt corporation from within, with the survival of an entire species hanging in the balance.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: George uses a blow-up traffic cop to get through a traffic jam.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: George criticizing Mr. Spacely for endangering the cute little critters.
  • Chew Toy: George really takes a lot of damage in this movie, yet it's mainly for laughs.
  • Cross-Dressing Voices: Teddy-2 was done by the late Dana Hill.
  • Conspicuous CG: Pretty early example, predating the famous ballroom scene from Beauty and the Beast.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: Judy and Apollo's song. Justified in that it was in a simulation room.
  • Executive Meddling: Janet Waldo had already recorded her lines as Judy Jetson only to get bounced from the movie in favor of late 1980s pop star Tiffany. She apparently did not find out about this until the movie premiered, and reacted about as badly as you would expect.
    • Actually, Waldo has said she found out shortly after the decision was made, and it was highly publicized. She was pretty upset at first, but has admitted it's became a non-issue, and doesn't hold any ill-will against anybody, not even Tiffany. In an odd twist of irony, Tiffany grew bitter with Janet Waldo because of her ever showing resentment to being replaced.
  • Franchise Killer: Coming on the heels of the 1980s Jetsons revival (the new syndicated episodes and two TV movies), this film's disappointing box office and harsh critical reviews were apparently enough to send the franchise back into hibernation. It has stayed there ever since, a potential live-action film being stuck in Development Hell for years notwithstanding.
  • Gang of Critters
  • Gentle Giant: The Furbalows.
  • Green Aesop: Bit of a Space Whale Aesop as well.
    • The intended aesop is more likely about native populations being exploited when companies go overseas. The solution, after all, is to have the Grungies run the factory and sell the sprockets to Spacely. This applies to the outsourcing analogy much better than it does to the environmental one. This aesop also has a Reality Subtext as the film itself was animated by Wang Film Productions. (And clearly this is a message which kids would understand and appreciate.)
  • Hey, It's That Voice!/Playing Against Type: Elroy in the movie grows up to become REVOLVER OCELOT! Seriously, that's Patric Zimmerman giving the voice.
  • High Turnover Rate: The vice-president position.
  • Hot Mom: Jane Jetson and Teddy-2's mom.
  • The Other Darrin: Pretty much everybody except Jane. Daws Butler (Elroy) died a year before the movie started production, so he was replaced by Patric Zimmerman. Mel Blanc (Mr Spacely) and George O'Hanlon (George) died during production, so the few unrecorded lines they had left were done by Jeff Bergman. And most infamously, Tiffany replacing Janet Waldo (Judy) after the latter had already recorded all her lines for the film.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: The Grungies.
    • Also Furgie.
  • Ridiculous Future Sequelisation: In one episode George watches a clip from "Rocky 912."
  • The Rival: Teddy-2 for Elroy, at first.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Teddy-2 looks just like his father.
    • Also Furgie looks a lot like a smaller version of her dad.
  • Stock Audio Clip: Judy cheering "Yay Daddy!".
  • Tagalong Kid: Furgie Furbalow.
  • Today X, Tomorrow the World!: A variation: Mr. Spacely says, "Today, Spacely Sprockets, tomorrow, the universe!"
  • White-Haired Pretty Girl: Judy, obviously. Does this really need to be mentioned again?
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Apollo Blue and the Furbalow family.
  • Zeerust Canon: Being made in 1990, this movie is loaded with 1980's pop culture, from music to hairstyles, yet it's still set in the same 1960's Raygun Gothic future, which sometimes gives a weird combination.
  1. Which was the pilot, no less
  2. even if she WAS voiced by Russi Taylor...