Sunday, April 15, 2012

Meet the Sethstones? Not Likely

By now, you’ve likely heard the news that Seth MacFarlane’s proposed remounting of ‘The Flintstones’ is on hold. The initial news about the Fox series brought about reactions from fans much like the one by Fred you see to the right. Word about the shelving has brought whoops of thanks to the Deity. Even from atheists, I suspect.

When MacFarlane was given the green-light a number of months ago, I avoided comment about the whole idea. Uproar was generated elsewhere over fears his version of ‘The Flintstones’ would become some kind of bastardised ‘Family Guy,’ yet there wasn’t even one drawing out there to prove the fears were founded on anything except a hunch. There was nothing really to comment on.

I still don’t really have any comment, other than what I’ve said about reviving other old cartoons and TV shows. The original voice artists are gone. So are the writers. So are the great Golden Age animators and designers. And some people out there seem to be doing what they can to make the whole cel-based process that put the Flintstones on TV in the first place obsolete. I realise there are animators and writers out there who love the characters and might be able to do them justice in a half-hour form. But it just wouldn’t be the same. To paraphrase a song, The Flintstones are a place right out of history. Let them stay there.

Comments have been made that the show is merely postponed and could jump off the shelf, ready to take the title of Flintstones Nadir away from Gazoo or the Schmoo or Flintstones Babies or whatever the low point was. It could. But it could be like uncountable other Hollywood projects that have been in limbo then the option on them runs out. By the way, didn’t I read three years ago about Zac Efron as Jonny Quest?

Oh, and if you haven’t seen it, here’s Pudsey the dog dancing to Hoyt Curtin’s famous Stone Age song on “Britain’s Got Talent.” Whether this is a high point or a low point for the Flintstones, I’ll let you decide. Cue in to the 2:40 mark.


12 comments:

  1. The dog dancing at 2.40 to "the Flintstones" is cute. Interesting you should post the 'Britain's Got Talent' video up - even though I despise Simon Cowell.

    It kind of amazes me about if MacFarlane is already like the executive producer of five different shows; and how is he going to handle that much? That's my only comment.

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  2. I still think Seth'd do a decent job on the Flinstones if this ever comes to light. It'll certainly be more comtemporary, and it will likely have a smidge more of an edge to it, but it won't turn into Family Guy. Remember, even the original series got away with the occasional eyebrow-raising gag like the tryst gag at the hotel when Fred went to the hospital for Pebbles' birth.

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  3. Hard to say what to think about this. The announced reason for the delay seems to be that McFarlane does have too many balls in the air right now, but it could be a behind-the-scenes problem about the vision thing, and that could go in either direction. Seth's shows are edgy and crude, but really, you can go through the entire 25-year history of the Fox Network and that would be their core ethos, so it's possible that McFarlane might actually want to do something close to the original show, and the execs at Fox are the ones pushing for a Stone Age version of "Family Guy".

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  4. Count me among those who are SORRY at the news of a delay. I was looking forward to this.

    Below, I’ll repeat the sentiments I expressed on my own Blog, when the project was first announced. Feel free to agree or disagree.

    “I think MacFarlane would be best served in recreating THE FLINTSTONES in their FIRST SEASON incarnations. This would best suit his style, which I expect would be (at least somewhat) toned down from his more adult-oriented fare. His work on DEXTER’S LAB and JOHNNY BRAVO prove that he can be “wild” and “tame” at the same time. I feel his FLINTSTONES will be more in that vein.

    “In fact, I’d love to see MacFarlane make the gutsy move of utilizing a good approximation of Barney Rubble’s ORIGINAL voice! The one Mel Blanc used for the First Season. (“The Swimming Pool”, “The Flintstone Flyer”, etc.) I think that would suit his vision well. Then, by the series second or third year, another actor can be brought in to voice Barney – and jokes of the “Dick York vs. Dick Sargent” variety (which the original show could never have done) might abound. Maybe, there could even be an eventual “Battle of the Barneys”!

    Later on, they could replace BETTY as well.


    “Given all of the inappropriate – if not outright horrible – things Hanna-Barbera ITSELF has done to its characters post-sixties, I’m actually looking forward to this! One thing we know… MacFarlane LOVES The Flintstones and Star Wars! I don’t expect he’d set out to destroy the memories of either!”

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  5. A very timely post, Yowp, regarding revivals, reboots, and homages of old properties, since that debate is being waged again with the release of "The Three Stooges" this weekend.

    I believe a good Flinstones series, one faithful enough to the tone of the original series, yet allowing for more modern sensibilities CAN be done. Witness 2001's "The Flinstones: On the Rocks", which in my opinion has to date been the only project to stand up to, and maybe even be better than, the original series.

    I agree with your analysis, though-I think FOX is applying pressure to turn the show into another non-sequitur raunchfest,although its hard to believe they wouldn't let Seth do things his way at this point.

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    1. Oops.Make that "I agree with J Lee's analysis".

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    2. The problem is "modern sensibilities" mean gross-out jokes. No doubt that's what the research says teh target audience wants.
      The process that created The Flintstones is long gone. Testing, focus groups, market research, network know-it-alls (and then, negative nelly pressure groups once a show gets on the air). Harvey Eisenberg says there was a time that all you had to do was please Joe Barbera and that was enough.
      There's a bunch of stuff I don't like about "On the Rocks" but that's for another time.

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    3. I still say that "On the Rocks" should be the point of comparison for updating the Flintstones for a modern audience.

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    4. I agree, Yowp. "On The Rocks" was abysmal on SO may levels. People who prefer it have NO clue what made the original so special. They have no clue, IMHO. I remember Joe Barbera being so incensed at the final product, he wanted to sue. There IS a way to update it and still keep the integrity of the original property, but I do not think Seth MacFarlane is the right person for the job. It's best the keep the Flintstones as they were.

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  6. But Joe, to replace Betty in this new series as well, the voice actress would have to be having a more-than-professional relationship with Seth first. (Oh no he di'int!)

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    1. Yep! I WAS thinking that! Good observation!

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  7. And not that it matters, but that's The B-52s' rather annoying version of "Meet the Flinstones" from the '94 live-action debacle.

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