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The Jetsons Scene That Aged Poorly

The Hanna-Barbera series "The Jetsons" asks us in the famous opening theme song to "meet George Jetson," and the rest of his futuristic family. Set in 2062 (via TechCrunch), 100 years from the year the animated series debuted, "The Jetsons" sitcom jokes about a nuclear family, including a happy homemaker and uptight patriarch, living in a science fiction setting. This includes flying cars, robot maids, and push button conveniences straight out of the Space Age.

The show originally aired only 24 episodes from 1962 to 1963, but syndication success caused the studio to produce more installments in 1985 (via Skooldays). "Jetsons: The Movie" in 1990 served as a finale of sorts to the original series, but a 2017 direct-to-video film, "The Jetsons & WWE: Robo-WrestleMania!", brings the characters back for a crossover with World Wrestling Entertainment.

It's been almost six decades since "The Jetsons" aired, and while it's a classic cartoon, naturally, parts of the series just haven't aged well. Here's one scene from the sitcom that especially feels like it belongs in the past.

The show tries and fails to cover unhappiness in housewives

Season 1, Episode 22, "Dude Planet," involves depression and the discontentment of housewives, which is surprising for a family show airing in 1963. The result, however, only emphasizes that the light futurism of "The Jetsons" was not the right place for such a story.

"Dude Planet" begins with Jane feeling burnt out from constantly pressing buttons around the house and dealing with technology. Her patronizing doctor suggests she's suffering from "Buttonitis" — which appears to be an allusion to "female hysteria" (via Medical News Today) — and suggests she take a vacation. Jane and her friend Helen go on a retreat to a place called Dude Planet, while George and the other family members struggle with the problems Jane usually deals with. Jane finally decides to return home when she thinks George is seeing another woman.

The episode is well-intentioned, but "The Jetsons" is a family cartoon, so it can't fully consider why Jane might find the lifestyle of a homemaker unsatisfying or how gender roles can be restrictive. The Western retreat doesn't even help her, as Matt Novak points out: "Jane finds that reveling in nostalgia hasn't helped her boredom ... without saying as much, we assume that she resolves to simply put up with the more depressing aspects of life in the future" (via Smithsonian). "The Jetsons" may be futuristic, but the show's values still reflect the decade that it was produced in. 

You can stream "Dude Planet" and other episodes of "The Jetsons" now on HBO Max.