These days, animated shows are known for having inappropriate moment for kids. The rise in adult animation has meant that many creators have the ability to market their shows to a more mature audience. For example, the audience of Rick and Morty are unlikely to be in the same age demographic as those of PAW Patrol.
However, there are a handful of animated shows capable of entertaining kindergarteners and their parents alike. These shows include the likes of Gravity Falls, Adventure Time, and Regular Show. While these examples air on children's networks, they have a sense of humor that appeals to all ages.
One of the earliest shows to draw in these different audiences was The Flintstones. Since the show often aired during primetime, the Hanna-Barbera classic offered elements of a family sitcom while still drawing in young viewers with its fun animation. Despite maintaining an all-age audience, some moments from The Flintstones aren’t as innocent as you may remember.
Here are the 15 Inappropriate Moments Everyone Missed In The Flintstones.
15 Fred’s Venue Mix-Up
Fred Flintstone isn’t exactly known for being the smartest man in Bedrock. He’s had some serious lapses in judgment throughout The Flintstones, leading to the character being the butt of many of the show’s jokes.
One of Fred’s notable mix-ups was when he confused the hospital that Wilma was scheduled to be giving birth in, with the town’s hotel. Fred's best friend and neighbor, Barney Rubble, brings the pregnant Wilma to the hospital while Fred rushes to meet them.
When Fred bursts through the doors of a hotel demanding to know which room his wife and best friend are in, the manager is understandably shocked. While younger audiences likely missed the infidelity joke, we’re sure their parents picked up on the gag.
14 Wilma and Fred's Troubled Marriage
The best jokes are rooted in reality. Throughout the series, Wilma and Fred’s arguing is a main plot device. These arguments usually spawned from problems faced by any number of married couples and were thrown in as a way for older audiences to relate better to the show.
After a while, though, viewers can become justifiably concerned that things between Wilma and Fred are in deep trouble. The TV movie, Flintstones on the Rocks, saw Fred and Wilma attend couples counselling, following their years of bickering. The special ramped things up even further when neither of the Flintstones remembered that their anniversary had already passed. At least they both dropped the ball on that one.
The trope of the unhappily married couple has long been prevalent in television shows, dating back to classics like The Honeymooners.
13 Fred and Barney’s Beer and Cigarette Commercials
There are moments while watching The Flintstones when you forget that the show came out during the 1960s. A great number of the episodes have elements that are still applicable to the modern viewer. However, sometimes the cartoon really shows its age.
Some of the more interesting examples of this come from Fred and Barney’s appearances outside the show. Throughout The Flintstones’ run, the two neighbors were featured in commercials for Busch Beer and for Winston Cigarettes, talking about the benefits of both products.
The views toward alcohol and, especially, cigarettes have certainly changed a lot since The Flintstones were first TV regulars. You’re unlikely to see a cigarette commercial at all nowadays, let alone one featuring a couple of cartoon favorites.
12 Fred and Barney's Fondness for Showgirls
When they aren’t at the rock quarry or getting into some sort of trouble at home, Fred and Barney can be found at the bowling alley with their friends and fellow members of the Loyal Order of the Water Buffaloes.
As is the case with most amateur leagues, the Water Buffaloes' activities outside the bowling alley are a lot more entertaining than the actual bowling. One of their more boisterous outings was when the Loyal Order of the Water Buffaloes hired showgirls for their party.
Fred and Barney told their wives that they would be attending a convention, but Betty and Wilma ended up at the same venue. The lying husbands are then caught watching a young lady as she jumps out of a cake.
11 Domestic Violence Between Wilma and Fred
We’ve already discussed the verbal altercations and bickering that Wilma and Fred, but on many occasions, their arguments escalate to more than just an exchange of words. Fred can be seen throughout the series threatening Wilma with physical violence, which leads to some really uncomfortable moments.
The violence isn’t just on Fred’s end, as Wilma has been known to hit her husband over the head during an argument. This isn’t a rare occurrence, either - more often than not, this is Wilma’s go-to method of conflict resolution.
Wilma and Fred are hardly the ideal role models for their younger viewers. These two just seem to bring out the worst in one another. At least the violence is on both ends, otherwise Fred would just be a monster.
10 Betty and Barney's Child Problems
In some ways, Betty and Barney Rubble are the polar opposites of Wilma and Fred. They generally get along with one another and are rarely seen engaging in on-screen arguments. Despite the fact that they seem generally happier than their neighbors, the birth of Wilma and Fred’s daughter, Pebbles, reveals an unfortunate reality for the Rubbles.
Although Betty and Barney have seemingly endless love to give, the couple are unable to have children of their own. Infertility is a condition that any number of adults are affected by throughout their lives and there certainly shouldn’t be any stigma around the topic. That being said, it’s a pretty heavy issue to expect a young viewer to understand.
Fortunately for the Rubbles, they still get a happy ending when they adopt their son, Bamm-Bamm.
9 Animal Cruelty
A memorable part of The Flintstones was the interactions between stone-agers and the animals that occupy the show’s universe. To some, Dino, the Flintstones’ pet dinosaur, is as much a character as Fred and Wilma.
The majority of animals seen in The Flintstones, on the other hand, are not as fortunate. Dinosaurs are forced to work in place of machinery in the rock quarry and as everyday appliances around the Flintstone home.
This is another instance in which the maturity of the show’s younger audience members seems to have been overestimated. While adult viewers will look at this as simply one of the show’s quirks, young viewers may be more apt to try to imitate similar situations with their own pets at home.
8 Fred's Dismissal of Gender Equality
Here’s another instance in which The Flintstones really shows its age. The 1960s was a particularly progressive time in regards to gender equality and Fred Flintstone was a reflection of the old, chauvinistic way of seeing things.
One notable example of this was in the episode “Wind Up Wilma”, in which the titular Flintstone stops a robbery attempt after hurling some fruit at the would-be assailants. For her skill and bravery, Wilma is awarded the job of starting pitcher for the town baseball team, the Bedrock Dodgers.
Rather than being excited by his wife’s opportunity, Fred is less than pleased by the situation, refusing to support the idea. Fred’s lack of support isn’t a great message to send to young viewers, regardless of their age or their gender.
7 Betty's Past Time in a Sorority
Compared to some of the other characters on The Flintstones, Betty Rubble is fairly soft-spoken. Although she doesn’t appear as boisterous as the others, Betty’s past hints at a woman who hasn't always been so timid.
Amongst the many souvenirs she has collected over the years, one of them is a paddle from her time in a college sorority. Based on what we know of sorority initiation and hazing, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what the paddle was used for.
The fact that she still hangs on to the paddle today may mean there’s more to Betty Rubble than meets the eye. However, it's likely this was just a gag for parents who were watching - it just hasn't aged very well.
6 Dino's One-Night Stand
Being the beloved Flintstone family pet, how much trouble could Dino possibly get himself into? It turns out the dinosaur has a bit of a one-track mind when it comes to the ladies.
Dino has a particular fondness for a neighboring dinosaur, falling head over heels for her. The two take their relationship to the next level, thankfully while off-screen, and have their own litter of dinosaur puppies.
If that weren’t weird enough to see on The Flintstones, we never hear from the neighboring dinosaur or their puppies again. This makes little sense to include as a storyline if they never intended to keep his new family around. The deadbeat dinosaur dad is hardly the perfect role model for the show’s younger viewers.
5 Bamm-Bamm's Bachelor Party
Despite not being biologically related, Bamm-Bamm and Barney share a fair amount of common interests. One of these less-than appropriate interests is in exotic dancers.
After years as childhood friends and neighbors, Bamm-Bamm Rubble and Pebbles Flinstones get married in the 1993 TV movie I Yabba Dabba Do! Before the wedding, Bamm-Bamm and his friends get together for the soon-to-be groom’s bachelor party.
Keeping true to the age-old cliché, the party is set to have some exotic entertainers in attendance. Unfortunately, one of the dancers demands more money than Barney was comfortable paying and she ends up leaving. In a desperate effort to keep things running smoothly, Barney decides to try his hand at risqué dancing.
4 Fred and Barney's Break-In
We’ve already established that Fred and Barney aren’t the smartest rocks in the quarry. Their mix-ups are usually result in some fairly innocent chaos, but there are some casualties to their hijinks.
In this case, Fred and Barney find themselves at the local hotel where they accidentally break into an unknowing woman’s hotel room. While this situation is resolved fairly quickly, we can’t help but notice that the two friends find themselves bursting in on unsuspecting women on more than one occasion.
In addition to the break-ins themselves, Fred and Barney never seem truly sorry for their actions. Maybe that’s why it keeps happening. This lack of respect for women's privacy, or women in general, is one of the main issues in the cartoon.
3 Fred's Gambling Addiction
By this point in the list, it’s pretty clear that Fred Flintstone isn’t a great role model. He’s loud, he’s abrasive, and he’s got some truly terrible habits. One of these issues is his problem with impulse control, though it may not be entirely his fault.
Showgirls aside, we think Fred would be right at home in Las Vegas. Throughout The Flintstones, Fred can’t say no to any opportunity to place a bet. Whether it's a poker game, a slot machine, or anything in between, you can bet that Fred will be there, money in hand.
Considering the extreme consequences that gambling has on countless individuals, Fred seems to be a pretty textbook example of somebody with a gambling addiction.
2 Barney's Jokes
When looking back at The Flintstones, it gets harder to know whether Fred or Barney is the more vulgar of the two best pals. The two are so often seen together that their speech and even their actions often blend together. One thing that is clear, however, is that Barney Rubble has a pretty serious love for dirty jokes.
An example of this occurs in a costume shop when Barney says he’s looking for something that will make him look taller. After Fred suggests he gets another head, Barney shoots back, asking why he’d need three of them. Yikes.
Between jokes like these and his inability to keep from chuckling at the mention of the word “antenna,” maybe Fred is the more mature one of the two.
1 Barney's Suicide Attempt
Suicide is an extremely serious subject for a live-action drama to tackle, let alone a cartoon. Regardless, The Flintstones attempted to do just that in the episode “Little Bamm-Bamm”.
After being told that he has lost the adoption rights to Bamm-Bamm, Barney walks out of the room in tears and has to be stopped by Fred from jumping off a bridge.
Thankfully, the episode does end on a high note, as Barney learns that he and Betty are, in fact, able to legally raise Bamm-Bamm as their own child. While it's great that everything worked out, that doesn’t take away from the fact that we nearly saw the happy-go-lucky quarry worker take his own life. Kids were watching this!
Did we miss any inappropriate moments from The Flintstones that you remember? Let is know in the comments!