Get ready to meet George Jetson – because he’s about to be born.
According to “The Jetsons” canon, the button-pushing, flying-car-riding, iconic future man entered the galaxy on July 31, 2022. While George is celebrating his first birthday, the show itself is about to celebrate its 60th birthday: it debuted on September 23, 1962, a century before it was set.
That means we’re only going to be 40 years away from the Jetsons’ rosy robot world, toothbrushing machines, and apartment buildings above the clouds.
So why are we still stuck on the ground waiting for our jetpacks? And why, after all these years, can we still hold onto the slightly flimsy, old-school animated sitcom as a beacon?
“We still talk about the future in terms of the Jetsons,” said Jared Bahir Brosch, author of the 2021 book “Hanna-Barbera: A History.” “A show that originally ran for one season had such an impact on our culture and the way we view our lives.” (“The Jetsons” actually came in two parts: 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 wrong.
Despite its science-fiction setting, the show was a typical ’60s patriarchal sitcom, showing how the needs of George, his wife Jane, teenage daughter Judy and young son Ellroy were met by automatic gadgets and the ubiquitous treadmill. However, there is still controversy over the specific function. and family drama.
And yet, “The Jetsons” “stands as the most important piece of 20th-century futurism,” according to Smithsonian Magazine,
According to Danny Graydon, author of “The Jetsons: The Official Guide to the Cartoon Classic,” one of the things that sets “The Jetsons” so markedly different from other sci-fi is that it’s neither dystopian nor dystopian. It’s utopian – certainly not “Mad Max” but not the peaceful Federation of “Star Trek” either.
“It was trying to think forward about where we might be a century from when the show first aired,” Graydon said.
To 1960s audiences, the Jetsons’ videophone—a massive piece of hardware whose static screen gives way to an image of the person trying to reach you—seemed like a dream.
By 2022, we’ve passed that technology without even realizing it – and we’re already sick of it. Skype arrived in the early 2000s, and FaceTime in the 2010s. Thanks to the pandemic, we all have video chat trauma, even if the name “Zoom” does sound a little Jetsons-y.
“It’s amazing how accurate it was, especially in the Zoom era,” Brosch said. “We’re starting to live that life more and more.”
While sassy robot maids like Rosie aren’t coming to market anytime soon, we’ve got cleaning aids in the form of Roombass—which are actually based on landmine technology—and other robotic vacuums for ages now.
We also have flat screen TVs from the Jetsons, cameras that can see inside your body and drones that dot the sky. In 2062, Elroy Jetson and friends watch the “Flintstones” rerun at the back of class on a Watch TV—something you can now do on the Apple Watch, which came out in 2015. Whereas wrist-worn devices can’t even make videos. Call on the show, add-on accessories can accomplish this feat, and Apple is expected to add a camera to the watches very soon.
Graydon said he recently tried out a workout app on his Apple Watch and it reminded him of an episode where George just watches a workout program without actually participating.
“Technology literally takes away the desire to do anything properly,” he said.
almost there, but you can’t use it
Matriarch Judy Jetson had a home machine that delivered breakfast at the push of a button. That technology has technically existed in the form of 3-D food printers since 2006, but has been limited to exhibitions, laboratories, and experimental uses. One startup, for example, is using a 3-D printer to make meaty steaks from plant material.
While the world waits for such gadgets to become widely available, you can Get a June Smart Oven, which costs about $1,000, operates over Wi-Fi and can understand what foods you’re cooking. Meanwhile, smart fridges will let you view the contents of your fridge from your phone, but you’ll still have to cook them yourself.
And that’s just the kitchen.
“The Jetsons” promises us a morning routine full of automatic hygiene machines that comb your hair and brush your teeth at the same time. Instead, we have some electric toothbrushes that are advertised on podcasts and still use AA batteries.
Skincare is a little more advanced – we have mask that shoot LED light at your face and home lasers that rejuvenate your skin. “The Jetsons” certainly underestimated how concerned everyone would be with aging in 2022.
When it comes to transportation, even experimental military “jetpacks” technically exist in a crappy form, but you can’t use one. And self-driving cars could hit the market before 2062 if they stop killing people on the roads.
Many fans – including Brosch and Graydon – cite flying cars as the Jetsons invention they take the longest. But they are also realistic about the challenges.
,[A flying car] It also sounds like a lot of fun,” Brosch said, “until the first crash happens.”
Capitalism in the future still exists, although George Jetson only works a three-hour, three-day work week, pushing a button in the sprocket factory. The depiction of a work day is one where reality deviates most from the world of “The Jetsons,” Brosch said, at least in the US, which still lacks work hours, work-life balance and paid family leave. lagging behind European countries.
“In this era, I think many of us are working more than ever,” he said. “The idea that automation was not only going to make our lives easier has created panic that it is going to replace work.”
No more ‘wow’ factor
We’ll never have a new show like “The Jetsons,” Graydon said, because we’ll never be so naive about the future.
“Making really shocking ideas about the future is more challenging,” he said. “Technology is advancing so fast, it’s very challenging to really achieve the ‘wow’ factor.”
By 2022, our optimism for the future has given way to a clear vision of the obstacles: endless energy demand, supply chains, climate change, socio-economic gaps, government gridlock and chimerical tech billionaires with their hands on all the buttons. Our science fiction has certainly become hazy. Apple TV’s “Severance” imagines a world where the workday technically never ends, while “Westworld” is full of murderous robots.
Now, savvy viewers will be demanding to know what the world looks like beyond the Jetsons’ space-age home.
“What about the people on the ground?” Brosh thought. “Are they still living there?”
The show implies that Earth was devastated by haze, pollution and extreme weather, which makes for a bleak reality where humanity chose to live above its problems rather than make lifestyle changes to fix them.
When you think about it, all of the show’s technological advances suggest a hazy future, a possible precursor to the world of Pixar’s “WALL-E,” where unsuspecting humans lead sedentary lives controlled by scheming robots. are harassed. In “The Jetsons,” walkways and automatic chairs are everywhere; Sky based buildings make it impossible to walk anyway.
In the cartoon, everything is wonderful, and yet no one is happy – but the creators planned it.
“It speaks to the idea that as humans we will always have something to complain about,” Graydon said. “One of the problems with utopias, if you create a perfect world, that world can be quite boring.”