I’m so old that when I was your age, I watched dinosaurs on TV. Dinosaurs! On TV! I’m for realz, yo. Kids these days don’t know how to appropriately slam their parents over the head with a frying pan and the lack of dinosaurs on TV is to blame. I’m talking, of course, about the TV show Dinosaurs. (I’m not that old and neither are TVs!)
Nobody under the age of 21 seems to remember this ol’ fossil. The year was 1991. The network was ABC. The timeslot was–I forget what time it was on, but I’m assuming around 8pm. The television viewership at the time was blessed with the brilliant idea of a sitcom based on the lives of the Sinclair family as they endure mundane days at work, crazy days at school, parenting woes, teenage drama and more… and who also just happened to be the most hilarious dinosaurs ever caught on film. Think Family Matters, but in the set in 60,000,003 BC Pangaea instead of mid-1990′ Chicago.
Earl Sinclair, the lumberjack-plaid-shirt wearing father, brings home the bacon by pushing over trees with his BFF Roy at the Wesayso Corporation. Frances “Fran” Sinclair is the resident matriarch of the family serving as loving but underappreciated wife of Earl and mother of her three kids. The oldest of Earl and Fran’s clan is their son, Robert “Robbie” Mark, who can be spotted in his varsity jacket sporting conveniently placed horns on his head that resemble a mohawk. He’s a total babe. His younger sister, Charlene is super fly, stylish and essentially the Cher Horowitz of Pangaea. The youngest of the kids, and perhaps the most notorious of them all, is Baby. This little demon child has a serious case of the “Terrible Two’s” that wou that would definitely warrant a “You’re in big trouble, mister!” from Michelle Tanner. Baby became known for enjoying seemingly violent games and hitting his father on the head with a cast iron skillet while yelling, “Not the Mama.” Spoiler alert: Earl was not, nor would he ever be, “the Mama”. Sometimes, even ol’ Ethyl, Fran’s mother, joins in on the fun. Another spoiler alert: Dinosaur grandmothers are even sassier than human grandmothers.
Alas, the beauty of this anthropomorphic cast of characters has been lost on the most recent sector of this generation. It’s possible Barney is the only childhood prehistoric earth walker that kids remember, and that’s a shame. Sure, these dinos were ugly, a little scary and didn’t wear pants, but they dealt with real issues like how to save energy while using a refrigerator, adapting outdated traditions to a “modern” world, dealing with workplace harassment, and controlling urges to do the mating dance, and what to do when you want to eat your frenemies. Plus, the wordplay classic. The We-Say-So Corporation? These guys were working for “The Man” before there were even any men at all! That’s corporate humor at it’s finest and I will applaud it until I, too, am extinct.
Luckily, anyone with $8 can rent the DVDs for a private screening and relive the magic every day until they decide they’re ready to continue marathoning The Wonder Years. Wait. 13-year-olds know about The Wonder Years, right?