Welcome to the world! On day of George Jetson’s birth —7/31/22 — here’s what the show got right and wrong about the future
New York Post
Get ready to meet George Jetson — because he’s about to be born.
The button-pushing, flying-car-riding, iconic future man entered the galaxy on July 31, 2022, according to “The Jetsons” canon. While George is having his first birthday, the show itself is about to celebrate its 60th: it debuted on Sept. 23, 1962, a century before it’s set.
That means we’re supposed to be only 40 years away from the Jetsons’ world of Rosie the Robot, toothbrushing machines and apartment buildings high above the clouds.
So why are we still stuck on the ground waiting for our jetpacks? And why, all these years later, do we still hold a slightly corny, old-school animated sitcom up as a beacon of what could be?
“We still speak about the future in Jetsons terms,” said Jared Bahir Browsh, author of the 2021 book “Hanna-Barbera: A History.” “A show that originally ran for one season had such an impact on the way we see our culture and our lives.” (“The Jetsons” actually came out in two chunks: its original ’60s run was only 24 episodes, and then a reboot in 1985 gave it another 50.)
Read on to see what “The Jetsons” got right about the future — and what it got hilariously wrong.
Despite its sci-fi setting, the show was a typical ’60s patriarchal sitcom, showing how George, his wife Jane, teenage daughter Judy and young son Elroy have their needs endlessly met by automated gadgets and ubiquitous treadmills, yet still squabble over typical work and family drama.
And yet, “The Jetsons” “stands as the single most important piece of 20th century futurism,” according to Smithsonian magazine.
One of the things that separates “The Jetsons” so clearly from other sci-fi, according to Danny Graydon, author of “The Jetsons: The Official Guide to the Cartoon Classic,” is that it’s neither dystopian nor utopian — definitely not “Mad Max” but not the peaceful Federation of “Star Trek” either.
“It was trying to have this forward-thinking view of where we might be a century on from when the show first aired,” Graydon said.
To 1960s audiences, the Jetsons’ videophone — a big piece of hardware whose staticky screen gives way to an image of the person trying to reach you — seemed like a dream.
By 2022, we outdid that tech without even realizing it — and we’re already sick of it. Skype came along in the early 2000s, and FaceTime followed in 2010. Thanks to the pandemic, we all have video chat trauma, even if the name “Zoom” does sound kinda Jetsons-y.
“It’s pretty amazing how accurate it was, especially in the Zoom age,” Browsh said. “We’re starting to, more and more, live that life.”
While sassy robot maids like Rosie aren’t hitting the market any time soon, we’ve had cleaning help in the form of Roombas — which are actually based on landmine technology — and other robotic vacuums for ages now.