When Nostalgia Leads You Astray

Have you ever remembered a childhood TV show fondly, thinking it was one of the best things ever made only to be disappointed upon revisiting it? That has happened to me quite a few times. Especially with cartoons from my childhood. Disney Plus has a lot of cartoons that I saw when I was young, like Darkwing Duck, Rescue Rangers, etc.

Coming across them in my forties has ripped my rose-colored glasses and made me see reality. These are not the works of art I thought they were. They were made for kids and nothing more. I was silly in thinking “they don’t make cartoons like they used to”. And that made hold true for some like Looney Tunes and the Flinstones. But the reason for those two examples is that they were made for adults in the first place, or for general audiences, not just for kids. Which is why you can rewatch Looney tunes and Flintstones and they may still be entertaining. Not so the case for other cartoons that were made exclusively for kids during their viewing hours of 3-5 pm on weekdays.

Well another sitcom that I remembered fondly has apparently also been added to the Disney Plus catalog. The sitcom in question was Dinosaurs. I remembered this show quite fondly. Once again, This was a show that I saw during my childhood and early teens and I remembered it being so well-written and lamenting it’s short-lived existence. To my surprise it actually lasted 3 seasons. I somehow remembered it only lasting one season. Well this show, with anthropomorphic dinosaurs was also following the format of a family sitcom al la the Flinstones model, which was also based off of The Honeymooners model. There’s no way this formula could lose right? My memory of this show has to be right on the money, no?

Alas, that was not meant to be. I tried to watch the first episode of this show to see if it was as great as I remembered fondly. I was only able to stomach a little more than half of the episode if even that much. I immediately recognized the Flinstones/Honeymooners comparisons albeit with two teenagers and a recently hatched baby, to add to the family sitcom appeal. I felt a lot of the lines seemed overly recycled and the jokes/punchlines fell flat. The added children into the fray was a case of having too many plates spinning. Because of this, the plot points or moments of tension just seemed too manufactured and challenging for the suspension of belief.

It felt like they wanted to be a little more like the Honeymooners, only sterilized, so as to not offend any demographics and please everyone. Doing this, pleases noone and makes the show tolerable to those with a less discerning palette. Like Darkwing Duck and Rescue Rangers, this show was entertaining for childhood me who was still a fan of cartoons. So having a show with puppetry or animatronics was a novelty that continued to entertain my puerile mind. The same cannot be said for me now,

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