Animation had been a major medium for decades before the advent of television but it took several years of televisions being widely available before there was a hit animated TV show. Enter The Flintstones, a series about the modern Stone Age family. While the idea of a sitcom centered on cavemen and rock puns sounds ridiculous, The Flintstones become a massive success and found its way into the pop culture landscape.
When the show premiered in 1966, it became the first animated show ever to air during a prime time slot, paving the way for future cartoons like The Simpsons, South Park, and Bob's Burgers. In the 50 years since it was canceled, The Flintstones has inspired everything from a blockbuster feature film to theme parks rides to a hit Lil Wayne song. While The Flintstones may be most-remembered for its creative anachronisms and colorful designs, the most influential aspect of the show is probably the relationship between Fred and Wilma Flintstone.
The show's portrayal of a flawed but well-meaning family man and his far more reasonable wife served as the template for everything from Home Improvement to Family Guy to The George Lopez Show, making Wilma Flintstone one of the quintessential TV moms. That's not to say that nothing's rotten in the town of Bedrock. Old school cartoons weren't particularly interested in continuity, meaning that Wilma Flintstone's portrayal across thirteen animated series, three theatrical films, and numerous television specials has varied widely. We are counting down 20 Things That Make No Sense About Wilma Flintstone.
20 Her Maiden Name
It shouldn't be too difficult for writers to keep the names of their characters intact, but the folks at Hanna-Barbera were apparently too busy creating the umpteenth knock-off of Scooby Doo. Thus, Wilma Flintstone's maiden name was Pebble or Slaghoople, depending on which episode of the show you watch. This change was probably a simple continuity error, but perhaps the show's writers disliked the idea of Pebbles Flintstone's full name being Pebbles Pebble Flintstone. Or maybe they wanted there to be one citizen of Bedrock whose last name wasn't stone-related, at least at some point. The name "Slaghoople" began the trend of animated housewives having pompous sounding maiden names like Marge Simpson née Bouvier and Lois Griffin née Pewterschmidt.
19 She Doesn't Age
Over the course of the franchise, fans got to see Wilma's only daughter, Pebbles, grow to an adult and become the mother of twins. Wilma somehow never ages during all of this. Despite living several millennia before the present day, Wilma Flintstone apparently has access to the most advanced anti-aging cream imaginable. What could this cream possibly contain? Brontosaurus extract? Woolly mammoth hair? There's a chance that she's so beautiful during middle age because she's living in a world free of pollution, or because the animators who brought her to life had no interest in developing an "old Wilma Flintstone" design, ever after Mr. Magoo broke the glass ceiling for elderly cartoon characters.
18 She Met Frankenstein And Dracula
Since Frankenstein's monster and Count Dracula are the two most overexposed fictional characters of all time (partly due to their public domain status), they, of course, had to meet the Flintstones. So apparently in the Flintstones universe, Frankenstein's monster and Count Dracula are real people but Charles Dicken's A Christmas Carol is a work of pure fiction. What kind of sense does that make? Are we supposed to believe that within the world of the show, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Bram Stoker's Dracula are based on prehistoric events? Or did Mrs. Shelley and Mr. Stoker just happen to create fictional characters who resembled prehistoric figures without realizing it? For all sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these - "The Flintstones canon is never going to make sense."
17 She Celebrates Christmas
A huge portion of the humor in The Flintstones derives from anachronisms. They are, after all, the modern Stone Age family and manage to have a car, a washing machine, and electricity. Arguably, the least modern thing they own is a landline phone! Fans of the show have long accepted the Flintstone's technological advancements as part of the show's wacky sitcom universe, but one aspect of the show has kept audiences scratching their heads for years: why do Wilma and her family celebrate Christmas? The show takes place centuries before Christ was born, so celebrating his birth seems a touch forward. This discrepancy, along with the show's deliberate technological anachronisms, has led some to theorize that The Flintstones actually takes place in a post-apocalyptic future where humanity has partially reverted to the Cro-Magnon days.
16 Where Did Her Cat Go?
The famous Flintstones closing credits sequence isn't just notable for showcasing one of the most catchy television theme songs this side of The Office. It also creates a bit of a head-scratcher: where did that cat go? The sequence famously shows the Flintstones having a clever prehistoric cat that locks Fred out of his own house, prompting him to yet "Willma!" a moment which strangely recalls Marlon Brando yelling "Stella" in A Streetcar Named Desire, though it's a touch more PG. Yet, that cat disappears from the series without explanation. The Flintstones' pet dog/dinosaur Dino must not have got along with his feline counterpart. Fred and Wilma didn't have a problem keeping a dinosaur around their toddler, but getting a "dog" and a cat to coexist was apparently t0o much trouble.
15 The Timeline Of Her Relationship With Fred
Like Homer and Marge Simpson after them, there is no definitive answer as to how Wilma met her husband, Fred. The live action movie The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, a film which flopped so badly that the Flintstones franchise has been in hibernation for nearly two decades, depicts Fred and Wilma meeting for the first time as adults. The animated series, however, told audiences that the two were childhood friends long before their romance blossomed. Did they just forget major aspects of their childhoods before meeting again as adults? Did The Great Gazoo change their memories with his futuristic alien technology? Did the presence of The Great Gazoo on this show inadvertently inspire Ancient Aliens? You decide.
14 Why Does She Buy Gasoline?
The most widely known recurring gag in The Flintstones has to do with the family car. In an age before the Model-T, the only way that the Flintstones and the Rubbles can get around in a car is by using a foot-powered vehicle. This raises two questions. The first is: why have a foot-powered car when you could just run? The answer to that is simple - because the foot-powered car is a gag. The second question is: why place these gas stations in The Flintstones universe? While there's certainly no reason for the world of The Flintstones to have gas stations, there's also no gag associated with the gas stations that would justify their existence. Fred and Wilma might be buying something expensive that they don't need.
13 How Does She Exist In The Scooby-Doo Universe?
Hanna-Barbera gave the world three ubiquitous cartoon franchises: The Flintstones, The Jetsons, and Scooby-Doo. The Flintstones got to meet the Jetsons in a 1980's TV movie thanks to time travel. That makes sense; what doesn't make sense is that Wilma Flintstone exists in the Scooby-Doo universe, as she had a cameo as a background character in an episode of Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated. Did Wilma use the Jetsons's time machine to make it to the modern era? Does she just use that machine regularly for no apparent reason, without concerning herself with the ways she could alter the space-time continuum? Wilma Flintstone might be a touch less reasonable than the show makes her out to be.
12 Her Role In A Production Of A Christmas Carol
Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is one of the most popular books ever written, to the point where adapting it is a lazy, cliché idea for a Christmas special. It's been done by The Muppets, Mickey Mouse, Barbie, Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, Kelly Clarkson, and of course, The Flintstones. The Flintstones version of the tale suffers from a logical problem that the others don't. In A Flintstone's Christmas Carol, Wilma, Fred, and company act out the Dickens novella as part of a Christmas pageant, centuries before Dickens was born. They even wear Victorian-era garb while they do it because apparently, the Victorian era happened prior to the Stone Age. Either the denizens of Bedrock predicted how people would dress in the future or The Flintstones really is set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.
11 Her Mother's Appearance
In their appearances on the original show, Wilma Flintstone's mother, Pearl Slaghoople, has a rather mannish appearance. She basically looks like Fred would if he were a woman, or like the Queen of Hearts from Disney's Alice in Wonderland; coincidentally, Pearl Slaghoople and the Queen of Hearts were both portrayed by the same voice actress, Verna Felton. In the live action films, The Flintstones and The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, Mrs. Slaghoople is respectively played by 1960's glamour goddesses Elizabeth Taylor and Joan Collins, who look nothing like the original Pearl. Did she go through a drastic and never-discussed transformation?
10 What's With Her Eyes?
Stylization is an essential part of animation. After all, if animation always looked exactly like real life, what would be the point of the medium? The Flintstones, however, contains some odd stylization that warrants some explanation. Wilma Flintstone and Barney Rubble have beedy little dot eyes without pupils while Fred, Betty, and most other characters on the show have more realistic eyes. Why is there this difference? Did the animators at Hanna-Barbera get tired of drawing regular eyes or run out of white paint? The latter explanation is plausible, given that the Hanna-Barbera studio never invested as much money in their cartoons as their rivals over at Walt Disney Pictures, even as Disney was going through a financial slump during the 1960s.
9 No One Talks About Her Sister
At one point, Wilma Flintstone is said to be an only child. That makes sense, as we never see her interact with any siblings. However, in one episode of the series, she mentions having a sister. Does she have a sister or not? If she does have a sister, she must be some kind of monumental embarrassment that the rest of the Slaghoople (or Pebble) family usually don't interact with, all while generally denying that she exists. Whatever rift happened in Wilma's family sounds really dark and much more intriguing than whatever Fred does while working the brontosaurus cranes, but alas, we will likely never see a serious, dramatic take on The Flintstones universe, unless Christopher Nolan decides he wants to do something really out of the box.
8 Her Iconic Necklace
While it's not as famous as Mickey Mouse's gloves or SpongeBob SquarePants' pants, Wilma Flintstones's rock necklace is a pretty iconic piece of cartoon clothing - it makes her look like a prehistoric June Cleaver. Where did it come from? That's not a question many animation fans are concerned with but The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas bothers to answer it anyway. Fred gave her the necklace (big surprise) or Wilma's father gave it to her. It depends on which scene of the movie you watch, as the film gives conflicting accounts of the necklace's origins and never bothers to resolve this discrepancy. No one expects a Flintstones movie to be as sophisticated as La Dolce Vita, but is it too much to ask that a screenplay not blatantly contradict itself?
7 Her Possibly Rich Family
In the two live-action Flintstones movies, Wilma Flintstone's mother is portrayed as very wealthy and disappointed that she would marry Fred, a man who is far lower on the socioeconomic totem pole than she is. Other works in The Flintstones canon portray Wilma as coming from a more modest background. Basically, her family is as wealthy as it needs to be to keep the plot moving. Essentially, that's a superpower, albeit an unconventional one. Imagine if you could be as affluent as you needed to be at any given moment. Move over Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel, and the Powerpuff Girls, Wilma Flintstone is the greatest female superhero of all time, and her power is practical.
6 Why Didn't Time Travel Change Much?
Over the past fifty years, countless people have realized that The Jetsons and The Flintstones are extremely similar shows - they both transplant 1950's sitcom tropes into a different, far off time period. The folks at Hanna-Barbera were certainly aware of the similarities, as The Jetsons was conceived to capitalize on the success of The Flintstones. In 1987, the studio released the most obvious cartoon crossover of all time: The Jetsons Meet the Flintstones, a time travel television special that puts America's most famous (PG-rated) animated families together. The issue with this is that the film allows time travel to happen without depicting any butterfly effect changes to the world. The film puts Marty McFly and The Terminator to shame.
5 She Was Married By A Pastor
The show depicts Fred and Wilma getting married in a Christian wedding. It would take an extremely creative Christian theologian to explain how that makes any sense. While Bedrock looks somewhat primitive to our jaded, modern eyes, that little town can claim to be more ahead of its time than any other town in the history of the world, as its citizens had Christianity, Charles Dickens, and airplanes centuries before they should have. Though it's not as serious as other works in the genre like Phillip K. Dick's The Man in the High Castle or Stephen King's 11/22/63, The Flintstones could be considered one of the earliest and most popular examples of the alternate history genre.
4 Her Car Is A Curious Thing
The Flintstones' famous car doesn't make practical sense and that's the point. The show using regular cars or no cars at all wouldn't have been funny. What really doesn't make sense is how Wilma and her family have a car that can occasionally seat two in the back and can occasionally seat four. If Wilma Flintstone is a superhero, that car is her Batmobile - an iconic vehicle that can do things that most people wish their car can do. In fact, her car actually ties in with her superpowers quite well. She's always exactly as rich as she needs to be and her car is always exactly as big as it needs to be.
3 Her Love For Fred
Here's an issue that a lot of conventional sitcoms have: what does the leading lady see in her husband? Wilma Flintstone is kind, beautiful, practical, intelligent, and a good mother. Fred isn't particularly kind, or smart, or attractive, or pragmatic, or wealthy, and his parenting leaves much to be desired, so what exactly does she see in him? Just that he's nice enough? There's nothing special about that - that's the bare minimum that society requires. Can Wilma really not find a better man? Did the Slaghoople's social circle lack a single attractive, good-hearted, wealthy man? While earlier sitcoms portrayed couples who each had something to bring to the table (I Love Lucy) or who had horrible relationships (The Honeymooners), The Flintstones promotes the idea that mediocre men can marry women who have more than they could ever hope to offer.
2 Her Friendship With Barney
Another major sitcom trope that The Flintstones embraces is friendships between neighbors. But when did Wilma Flintstone and her neighbor, Barney Rubble, first meet? The answer to that question depends on which entry in the franchise that you watch. In an episode of the animated series, Wilma and Barney are depicted as having been good friends from a young age. However, Viva Rock Vegas depicts them meeting for the first time as adults. Which should fans of The Flintstones trust? There's no right or wrong answer, but since even the most dedicated Flintstones fans were disappointed by Viva Rock Vegas, it would probably be in everyone's best interest to forget about that flop movie forevermore, so that the franchise can finally get back on its feet again.
1 Her Sleeping Arrangement
Even if the basics of their relationship is a touch questionable, Fred and Wilma Flintstone do love each other, which has led fans to wonder why they slept in separate beds? Earlier seasons of the show depict the couple sleeping in twin beds in the same room. This changed in later seasons of the show without explanation, leading the two to have the distinction of being the first animated couple to sleep in the same bed, somehow making those Stone Agers ahead of the Jetsons on that particular front. Whatever caused a rift in Mr. and Mrs. Flintstone's marriage will forever remain a mystery, but it's at least nice to know that their marital issues have been resolved.