Perhaps you don’t know this, but I have a mild obsession with dinosaurs. I’m eagerly anticipating the day Netflix, Hulu, or some other streaming savior posts Jurassic Park and its sequels so I can write the most intense fan homage ever. It was an awesome surprise for me, though, when I saw that Netflix has put up the entire run of ABC’s 90s dino sitcom Dinosaurs.
Anything dinosaur related? INSTAQUEUE.
Dinosaurs is a sitcom that ran in the infamous TGIF programming era of ABC. It was the standard American sitcom (sans laugh track), except instead of people it was full-body dinosaur puppets. I queued a few episodes of the show this week and was surprised at how well the show holds up. The pilot sucked, but stick with it. It’s fascinating how the topical issues the show covered still apply today.
In “Baby Talk”, the infamous Baby (“Gotta love me!”) learns a dirty word from the TV and instead of taking responsibility for his viewing, Earl boycotts the network. Sounds familiar considering all the nuts that still do this. My favorite episode thus far has to be “A New Leaf” where teen son Robbie discovers a plant that makes they all happy and giggly. The end of this very special episode has the character break the fourth wall, speaking directly to viewers with this show’s stance on drugs: Stop doing drugs and we won’t have to make preachy sitcom episodes about being anti-drugs.
Sitting on my couch watching Dinosaurs, it felt like TGIF all over again.
Now one thing to note is that the actual series finale “Changing Nature” is positioned as Season 4, Episode 7, instead of it the last episode of the entire queue. It seems they added the “lost episodes” onto the end of the show’s run, perhaps to make you feel better and happier. Why would you be sad after a sitcom with puppet dinosaurs? Well if you’re like me, you may not have remembered that on the series finale of Dinosaurs but [SPOILER ALERT] EVERYONE DIES. No, really. When a wax fruit company wipes out a species of beetle that keeps the poppy population low, Earl and his company spray a chemical to kill the poppies.
Instead it kills all plant life, they explode volcanoes to make it rain, which instead creates so much soot it blocks the sun. Yup, Earl Sinclair is the reason civilization will end as the family sits in their house huddled together in the cold. The real kicker is having to listen to Earl explain to baby that basically life will be over.
Dinosaurs was a pop-culture phenomenon during the 90′s that definitely deserves being revisited. Baby and his irritating but lovable catchphrases took America by storm, even creating that corny song of his that gets stuck in your head for hours. Those with a keen ear will recognize baby’s voice as Kevin Clash, the man behind the lovable Elmo (don’t forget to watch Being Elmo). Sometimes when Baby laughs I hear the early moments of what became a cultural icon. Besides outstanding puppets, you’ll see signature Jim Henson in the jokes and puns of the show (the newsanchor is Howard Handupme) which is what seals the deal for me. For a show over 20 years old, it’s amazing how well Dinosaurs holds up and I’m excited to watch this whole series with adult eyes.