DINOSAURS

I have good news and bad news.  Apparently, my bosses do read these articles, and they’re not happy I disobeyed them and published the Family Matters article.  However, you all loved it so much that my bosses now believe that ’90s nostalgia is real.  However, I still have to be punished, and so they made me watch this episode of Dinosaurs.  I hope we all learned something…well, mostly me.  I hope I learned something.

Dinosaurs was a television show created by Jim Henson shortly before his death.  It ran on ABC’s TGIF from 1991-1994.  The show is The Flintstones for dinosaurs.

The show centered on the Sinclair family (get it? because they become oil) the parents, Earl and Fran, and their three children: Robbie, Charlene, and Baby.  They live a modern life with television and other conveniences while at the same time being talking dinosaurs.

If you’ve thought about the show at all, you probably remember it for the Baby’s catchphrase “not the momma”.

What I remember about it was the horrifying way the show ended.  Let’s take a look.

BUNCH BEETLES

The episode begins with the family having a barbecue to celebrate the return of the bunch beetles.  These bugs come once a year and eat all the cider poppies.  Howard Handupme (their take on Walter Cronkite, look it up kids) says that billions of them fill the sky.

Later we see one of these bunch beetles are they are nearly half the size of one of dinosaurs.  Billions of them filling the sky sounds less like something I want to be outside for and more like the plot of a horror movie.

Anyway, there’s no reason to fear because the bunch beetles never show up.  The Sinclair’s turn off the live television coverage of the event as the cider poppies menacingly start to climb towards the chairs.

MOTHER NATURE OUT OF CONTROL

It’s weeks later, and the beetles have never shown up.  The cider poppies are making everything look like the outfield at Wrigley stadium, and no one knows what to do or why this has happened.

A bunch beetle shows up at the Sinclair’s house.  The beetle explains that he got lost on the way to the swamp.  Earl asks him why he’s not eating the poppies and the beetle explains that he’s off to the mating swamp and the only thing on his mind is getting down.  He even hits on Charlene.

Charlene takes the horny beetle to the swamp, but they discover that a wax fruit factory destroyed it.  An employee of the company comes to spray the beetle saying that he thought he’d killed them all.  Casual genocide aside it’s weird that the bunch beetles are both well-known enough to have live television coverage of their arrival, but also obscure enough that this guy doesn’t know what he’s killing.

Back at home, the family is watching television and Charlene appears on television to tell everyone what happened.  She gives an impassioned speech about protecting the environment.  Earl interrupts to defend the corporation he works for and industrial progress.

Earl’s boss (dealing with this public relations crisis) sees this and gets the idea to make Earl the chairman of a task force that puts him as the face of the company.

LITERAL POISON

The company decides that the best way to deal with the problem is to cover the entire world in a chemical defoliant.  The choppers come and dump the defoliant everywhere.  The plan works, and it kills the poppies…as well as every other plant in existence.

Earl seems unconcerned until he looks out the window and sees the literal Armageddon.

So now they need to get it to rain so that the plants will grow back.  To make clouds they decide to drop bombs inside volcanoes.  I know it may sound like a solid plan, but they overdo it and end up covering the entire planet in clouds which block out the sun for at least 10,000 years.

THE END

The final scene of the show is the family gathered in their home, trying to keep warm, while snow piles up outside.  Earl apologizes for ending the world.  Somehow, his family forgives him.

The Baby doesn’t get what’s going on, and he asks.

Earl says: “Daddy was put in charge of the world and he didn’t take good care of it.  Now there doesn’t look like there’s going to be much a world left for you or your brother and sister to live in.”

Baby: “Are we gonna move?”

Earl: “Well, there’s no place to move to.  This is the only world we’ve got.”

The baby looks at him with its big eyes and says, “What’s gonna happen to us?”

If you listen very carefully, you can hear one of the producers hanging himself off-screen.

The family assures the baby that they will be together until the end and the camera pulls back.

Howard Handupme comes on one more time to say, “Good night…Goodbye.”

Have fun sleeping kids!

THOUGHTS

This is a little different than my normal dumpster diving.  It’s not a bad episode at all.  It’s well made, with a lot of good points about taking care of the planet.  It’s just…this is a kid’s show where the baby talks in an enjoyable voice.  It’s a dark as hell way to end things.  Hey, remember that family you grew to love over three seasons?  They’re all going to die.

I think at this point I have been properly punished.  Join us next week for something probably lighter.  And if you have a suggestion for Dumpster Diving tweet it at us @MoviesTVMusic

 

 

 

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The Author

Mark Phillips

Mark Phillips

Mark Phillips is the author of several thriller and literary novels. His Bentley Books series introduced the world to sadistic serial killer Bentley Grimes, a villain of unbelievable cruelty and unimaginable coldness. His literary novels are populated with richly drawn characters struggling with issues that affect our society today, such as: homosexuality, alcoholism, family struggles, poverty, greed, and bigotry.

He is an avid sports fan as well as a lover of movies and television.

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