I had to laugh recently when I heard someone say that the cartoon “The Flintstones” was really promoting Marxism, and that there were ideological messages about the individual’s place in society hidden within the cartoon. That sure wasn’t the message I got from watching “The Flintstones,” a staple in my Saturday morning lineup of cartoons while growing up.
I watched as Fred and Wilma and their neighbors, Barney and Betty, dealt with stone-age suburban problems, work issues, difficult bosses, friendships, crises, out-of-control pets and children, and their primitive versions of modern conveniences. They got caught up in the same things we do today: fads and crazes, celebrity idolization, dreaming of the ‘good life’. They struggled through mistakes and misunderstandings, bad decisions and anger. They laughed and cried, fought and made up with one another, always learning important lessons about life and relationships along the way.
But it was Wilma and Betty I admired most. They were the level-headed ones. They were strong female voices of reason. They served to check and balance the harebrained schemes Barney and Fred dreamt up. Most of all, they were best friends for more than 30 years. My very favorite Flintstone episode was when Wilma and Betty took Judo lessons to protect themselves from a neighborhood prowler. I loved their practical responses to things (most of the time!) and their mutual support. I still think they’re great role models for girls, teaching us the importance and endurance of friendship. It takes a long time to grow an old friend, and every minute is worth it. Yabba-Dabba Do, Lindsey and Maria!