Monday, November 14, 2011

Dinosaurs...The TV Show

I had never heard of the television show Dinosaurs until a few weeks ago.  My girlfriend saw the TV series at Movie Village we finally picked it up this past weekend.
Dinosaurs ran from 1991-1994
The show was created by Jim Henson (you'd best remember him from the Muppets and Sesame Street).  The most amazing thing about this, was yes, Henson did create the concept of the show, but he died a year before it went to air.

According to Henson's son Brian, Henson wanted to create "a sitcom with a pretty standard structure, with the biggest differences being that it's a family of dinosaurs and their society has this strange toxic life style."

The idea was weird, especially for the late 80's, but after The Simpsons took off, dysfunctional families on TV became quite popular.  Therefore the Sinclairs were created, and Dinosaurs began.

From l-r: Charlene, Fran, Baby (top), Ethyl (bottom), Earl and Robbie
Do they look familiar to you?  I vaguely remember the TV show as a kid, but not very well.  

The show is very interesting because it's not scared to poke fun at itself.  The family is addicted to TV and Fran (the mother) always tries to get them to communicate as a family.  Instead, the characters decide to watch TV despite knowing what it does to their brains.  They will outright talk about how it doesn't stimulate the mind and why people would ever watch it in the first place.

Dinosaurs LOOKS like a children's show.  That could not be any further from the truth.  In one episode, Earl talks about watching a TV show featuring sock puppets with his child, Baby.  He loves the show because of the adult content in it.  Baby likes the show because of the fun characters.  Earl steps out of character and looks directly into the camera to talk about how there are many shows out there that feature fun characters that attract attention, but are filled with tons of witty dialogue that means more than one thing.

That couldn't be any more true.  Here are some of the issues that Dinosaurs have touched on in their four seasons:

  • Environmentalism
  • Women's Rights
  • Sexual Harassment
  • Censorship
  • Civil Rights
  • Body Image
  • Steroid Use
  • Masturbation
  • Drug Abuse
  • Racism
  • Peer Pressure
  • Corporate Greed
  • Homosexuality
Earl Sinclair's boss, B.P. Richfield, on the "Happy Plant" drug.

Not so much a children's show now, is it?

Dinosaurs is a social commentary on how human's live their lives today.  They got away with a lot of issues that many TV shows weren't able to talk about in the early 90's because they weren't coming straight out with it.  They disguised a lot of the facts so that they were never mentioned, but it was still quite obvious.

For example, masturbation wasn't called that.  It was called the Mating Dance: a specific dance that a man and a woman would do together before they, well, you know.  Robbie, the son, was caught doing the Mating Dance alone, UH OH!

Drugs were not drugs.  Instead, Robbie and his friend find a plant and decide to eat it because they are hungry.  This leads to them getting high off it.  They name it the Happy Plant.  Robbie lets his dad and sister try it.  Robbie's dad, Earl, gives some to his boss.  By the end of the episode everyone is high as kites.  

I could never imagine allowing my child to watch this show.  I'm glad I discovered it now though.  I can appreciate it so much more.

So if you remember the show as a child, give it another watch.  If you have never heard of it, but are curious, please check it out.  

It can be rented from Movie Village in Winnipeg.  Just be aware that the first disc is missing from Season 1/2.  Plus I have it rented out, sucka.  But check back soon!  Just please don't rent out season 3/4, I want to rent that one next!


  1. My siblings and I ALWAYS watched this. Probably seen every episode.
    Baby Dinosaur was my favourite. "Not the mama."
    Great post and love the blog.

  2. The baby one scared me. I don't know if this is why I no longer wish to have children, but I'm not writing it off as a coincidence.