Fred and Wilma’s Dying Marriage Was the Subject of the Weirdest ‘Flintstones’ Spin-Off
The Flintstones has always been a franchise that’s catered to adult audiences in addition to kids — from the time Fred and Barney shilled for Big Tobacco, to the surprisingly horny ‘90s film adaptation, to the disturbingly realistic comic series, in which Fred and Barney wrestle with the guilt of having participated in a “genocide.”
Back in 2001, one of the most bizarrely adult takes on the characters aired on the Cartoon Network, a TV movie called The Flintstones: On the Rocks, which focused less on celebrities with rock-based puns and pompous green aliens, and more on Fred and Wilma’s crumbling marriage. The first scene actually found Wilma physically attacking Fred during a couple’s counseling session. Yabba dabba do?
After Fred and Wilma forget their own anniversary, in an effort to spice up their depressing relationship, the couple goes with the Rubbles on a vacation, taking a trip to beautiful Rockapulco. Unfortunately, Fred can’t stop having erotic bowling-themed fantasies about random women, à la Clark Griswold. Note how this segment uses stop-motion animation, possibly to symbolize that these sad fantasies are the only times that Fred doesn’t feel like a hollow shell of his former self.
Once they’re at the hotel, Fred thoughtlessly shoots down Wilma when she attempts to seduce him, turning down sex to watch TV (a scene that presumably did nothing for his chewable vitamin sales). Compounding their misery, the Flintstones are then forced to listen to Barney and Betty getting it on through the adjoining wall, despite the fact that it’s made of stone.
As the show progresses, both Wilma and Fred nearly have affairs and come shockingly close to divorcing. But then Fred gets drunk (hence the title) and regrets the way he’s treated Wilma, so the couple ultimately reconcile and stop the diamond thief that Wilma nearly hooked up with.
Oh, and we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the scene in which Fred and Barney proudly wear matching thongs to the beach, as if starring in a commercial for Mid-Life Crisis Pebbles.
Combining a lighthearted adventure starring iconic cartoon characters with an unflinching look at marital turmoil didn’t exactly prove to be a winning formula. The show, co-directed by future The Loud House creator Chris Savino, was never re-aired, nor was it ever made available on home video.
Still, this was far from the worst attempt to filter classic Hanna-Barbera characters through a more mature lens. It wasn’t even the worst one to be produced by the Cartoon Network in the early aughts. In 2002, the cable channel hired the (now-disgraced) creator of Ren and Stimpy, John Kricfalusi, to turn The Jetsons into abusive maniacs.
Thankfully, this trend died off before we were forced to endure a show all about Huckleberry Hound confronting his quaalude addiction.
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