As you probably know by now, I really love cartoons. I love cartoons more now than I did when I was a kid. But with age comes wisdom and in recent years, I’ve realized just how messed up some of the cartoon characters on whom we heaped our childhood affections really were, from the talking dog who hallucinates ghosts and ghouls to that kleptomaniac bear who hung out with the bear with the defective pituitary gland to the king of sexual harassment himself, Pepe LePew.
But there’s no doubt in my mind as to who the most disturbing cartoon character is. It’s Wilma Flintstone. No question.
At first glance, Wilma seems like your average prehistoric housewife. Her psychosis lurks beneath the surface like broiling magma beneath the earth’s surface. No casual observer of The Flintstones would think Wilma capable of homicide, but one needs only watch the show’s outro for a glimpse into Wilma’s madness.
At the end of every episode, as the Flintstones are preparing to go to bed, Fred calmly sets two milk bottles outside the door and plops his large, saber-toothed cat on the welcome mat (come to think of it, I don’t remember seeing that cat in any actual episodes of the show. I guess they had to get those giant racks of ribs somewhere.) The cat then proceeds to dash back inside the house, drop Fred outside, and slam the door. Fred begins banging vigorously on the door, shouting “Wilma!” and waking all of Bedrock. Harmless family fun? I think not.
Clearly, Wilma hears Fred banging on the door. How could she not? He’s woken up a major metropolitan city. Wilma Flintstone, despite the cries of her husband, has just decided to leave him locked outside. I mean, what’s going through her head? “Oh, I hear you, honey. But I’m just going to leave you out on the cold, rock porch all night long. After all, it’s not like we live in a time when meat-eating dinosaurs stalk the Earth at night looking for prey.”
It seems innocent enough after we see Fred in the next episode alive and well, but eventually, the allosaurus will catch up to him. Poor Fred. All he wants to do is bowl and wear his hollowed-out buffalo skull to the social club. But when Wilma’s schemes succeed (and they will, eventually), Fred will end up disemboweled, half-eaten, and yabba-dabba-dead.
That may seem barbaric, but think about the time in which the Flintstones live. Back in the Stone Age, savagery, disease, and death were everyday sights. This show takes place before the Black Plague, before the Hunnic conquest of Europe, and before the second Transformers movie. It was a savage time when only the strong survived. Wilma has already used Fred for procreation; he has served his purpose. With him gone, she won’t have to share her food with anyone, can capture and enslave more animals to use as household items, and will have the crocodile-toilet all to herself.
And maybe she wants to use his rotting carcass to make an evening dress or something. What? It’s no less disturbing than the realization that Barney’s short stature and regressed intelligence make him a prime target for roving bands of cannibals.