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Dinosaurs Television Show - Prehistoric Laughter Years Ahead Of Its Time

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

A Complete Review of the First and Second Season

A Brief History Of Dinosaurs

One year after Jim Henson’s untimely death in 1990, ABC first aired the pilot episode of “Dinosaurs,” a sitcom following the dysfunctional exploits of a family of dinosaurs who lived 60 million years ago.  Henson worked on the sitcom in the years leading up to his death, and his son, Brian Henson, saw the show to worldwide broadcast.  Although initially popular, Dinosaurs ran for only four short years due to high production costs and eventual sagging ratings. 

Jim Henson was first inspired to make a sitcom like Dinosaurs after his team worked on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies, which used the same technologies that eventually brought to life this family of animatronics dinosaurs.  This technology eventually turned into two-piece costumes on Dinosaurs, with one piece being the body and the other being the head controlled by a team of puppeteers.  At the time of its airing, the technology used to control the dinosaurs was years ahead of its time.  This team of puppeteers could control the movement of the facial features like the eyes, eyebrows, and lips. 

The plot of the show itself revolved around a dysfunctional, but typical, dinosaur family of five.  The hapless but loveable Earl Sinclair was the head of the household.  His wife, Fran, took care of all the “motherly” duties in the home and cared for their three children, Robby and Charlene, who were both in the dinosaur equivalent of high school, and “Baby Sinclair,” who was a newborn at the beginning of the show.  The show satirized and made fun of many of the issues that still plague modern-day America—war, sexism, harassment, vegetarianism, female image issues, and many, many more.  Of course, creators of the show put a prehistoric spin on the content, but much of the places and props are similar to present day.  Earl Sinclair toils away every day and work and comes home to his family.  He enjoys sitting down in front of the television to turn his mind completely off.  Robbie and Charlene do not like going to school while Baby struggles for the attention of his family.  Fran is the loving mother who endlessly toils away in the kitchen and is the most logical member of the family. 

When taken as a whole, Dinosaurs is a recipe for non-stop hilarity.  Find out how the first two seasons stack up. 

Dinosaurs - Seasons 1 and 2

Dinosaurs - The Complete First and Second Seasons

Dinosaurs: Season One and Two

A Review

Dinosaurs is a character driven show with little to no connection of plot lines between shows. 

The first episode of Dinosaurs originally aired on April 26, 1991, and it was not until May 2, 2006 when consumers could bring the first two seasons home on DVD.  Both seasons are packaged together in a four-disc set that includes 24 episodes.  Disc one features two very interesting “making of” documentaries that show viewers how this hilarious show came to be.  Each of the discs also features a hidden “Dino-egg” (more commonly known as Easter eggs on DVDs) that lead viewers to a few more hidden goodies to enjoy. 

It is easy to see the mass appeal of this show after only watching one episode.  Children love it because of the puppet characters and the slap stick humor, while adults love it because of the biting satire towards today’s modern culture.  Here are some of the highlights…

“Charlene’s Tale”

In this episode, young Charlene grapples with her peers who are all experiencing the dinosaur equivalent of puberty.  She experiences body image issues because the swagger of her tail does not attract enough men.  This episode pokes fun at the shallow attraction of males to the physical appearance of their dinosaur counterparts.  

“The Howling”

Similar to Charlene’s Tale, this episode shows the coming of age of teenager son Robbie Sinclair.  To show his step into manhood, Robbie must begin howling at the full moon once a month.  Before partaking in this right of passage, Robbie becomes very moody (as an obvious parallel to PMS in women). 

“What ‘Sexual Harris’ Meant”

The Sinclair’s feminist female Brontosaurus neighbor, Monica, lands a job with Earl pushing over trees at the WeSaySo Corporation.  Although Earl receives a lot of flak for referring Monica to a “man’s job,” Monica is frequently a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace by Al “Sexual” Harris, who is voiced by future Seinfeld star, Jason Alexander.  Monica eventually takes Harris to court but it does not turn out as expected since the WeSaySo Corporation controls the court. 

“Refrigerator Day”

The “Refrigerator Day” episode is a hilarious take on the formulaic Christmas sitcom episode.  Family loses job and has no money.  Presents and material goods are taken away.  Family must put things in perspective and honor the creation of… the refrigerator.  Family gets presents back and everyone lives happily ever after.  This particular episode is a hilarious look at the materialism and commercialism associated with Christmas.  Throughout the episode, the dinosaurs are prompted to buy material possessions just because Refrigerator Day is nearing.  At the end of the episode, all things are well again because Fran discovers the concept of the retail refund.

“Nuts to War” Parts 1 and 2

The whole supercontinent of Pangaea erupts into war over a shortage of pistachios.  Young Robbie goes to the front lies to fight for his two-legged dinosaur friends where he must hurl sticks and stones to break a military stalemate.  The WeSaySo Corporation only looks out for its own financial interests and produces a larger and more harmful rock to the war.  There is a brilliant back-story to these two episodes in which Baby searches for a creature that stole his cookie. 

Other Memorable Moments

Any time the television is turned on in the Sinclair household laughs are sure to follow.  Robbie tends to watch DTV, the dinosaur equivalent of MTV, while Earl loves to watch dinosaur brawling matches on the idiot box.  Other hilarious clips are shown from the nightly news, daily self-help talk shows, and sporting events. 

Whenever anyone references Dinosaurs, they immediately think of Baby Sinclair.  Twenty years after the first episode aired on television, Baby’s famous phrases of “Not a mama,” “I’m the baby gotta love me,” and “AGAIN!  AGAIN!” are still very commonly known in everyday vernacular and popular culture. 

In Summary…

If you do not own Dinosaurs: The Complete First and Second Season, you must immediately buy it.  The twenty-four episodes packed on these DVDs will have you laughing for hours on end. 



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