Get ready to meet George Jetson – because he’s about to be born.
The iconic futuristic man who pushes buttons and rides in a flying car enters the galaxy on July 31, 2022, according to the law of “The Jetsons.” While George celebrates his first birthday, the show itself is about to celebrate his 60th birthday: it premiered on September 23, 1962, a century before it was set.
That means we’re only supposed to be 40 years away from the Jetsons world of Rosie the Robot, dental flossing machines and apartment buildings high above the clouds.
So why are we still stuck on the floor waiting for our jetpacks? And why, after all these years, do we still hold a slightly tacky old-school sitcom to serve as a beacon for what could possibly be?
“We still talk about the future in Jetson terms,” said Jared Baher-Brush, author of the 2021 book Hanna-Barbera: A History. “The show, which originally ran for one season, has had a huge impact on the way we see our culture and our lives.” (“The Jetsons” actually appeared in two parts: its original 1960s run was only 24 episodes, and then the 1985 reboot had another 50 episodes.)
Read on to see what “The Jetsons” got right about the future—and funnyly what went wrong with it.
Despite its sci-fi setting, the show was a quintessential patriarchal sitcom of the 1960s, showing how George, his wife Jane, teenage daughter Judy, and young son Elroy endlessly cater to their needs with robotic tools and ubiquitous treadmills, yet no They still quarrel about model work and family drama.
However, “The Jetsons” “stand as the most important single piece of the 20th century’s future,” according to Smithsonian Magazine.
According to Danny Graydon, author of “The Jetsons: The Official Guide to the Cartoon Classic,” one of the things that clearly sets The Jetsons apart from other science fiction films is that it’s neither dystopian nor fantasy — certainly not “Crazy Max” but not the Federation. Peaceful Star Trek, too.
“She was trying to get a forward-looking view of where we might be a century after the show first aired,” Graydon said.
To an audience of the 1960s, the Jetsons visual phone — a hunk of hardware whose fixed screen gives way to an image of the person trying to reach you — seemed like a dream.
By 2022, we’ve outgrown that technology without even realizing it — and we’re already sick of it. Skype emerged in the early 2000s, and FaceTime followed in 2010. Thanks to the pandemic, we all have video chat shockers, even if the name “Zoom” sounds like Jetsons-y.
“It’s really amazing how accurate it is, especially in the zoom age,” said Bruch. “We’re starting to live this life more and more.”
While rude robot maids like Rosie aren’t hitting the market anytime soon, we’ve been getting cleaning help in the form of Roombas — which are actually based on landmine technology — and other robotic brooms from ages ago.
We also have Jetsons flat screen TVs, cameras that can look inside your body and drones flying through the sky. In the year 2062, Elroy Jetson and his friends watched a replay of “Flintstones” in the back of the class on TV — something you can do now on the Apple Watch, which came out in 2015. While wrist wear devices also can’t make call videos as In view, additional accessories can take the feat, and Apple is expected to add a camera to the Watches very soon.
Graydon said he recently tried an exercise app on his Apple Watch and it reminded him of an episode where George was watching an exercise program without actually participating.
“Technology literally takes away the desire to do anything right,” he said.
You’re almost done, but you can’t use it
Matriarch Judy Jetson had a home machine that served breakfast at the push of a button. This technology has technically been around since 2006 in the form of 3D food printers, but it’s limited to exhibitions, labs, and experimental uses. One startup, for example, is using 3D printers to make steaks from vegetable ingredients.
While the world waits for these gadgets to become widely available, you can get a June smart oven, which costs around $1,000, works over Wi-Fi and can recognize the foods you’re cooking. In the meantime, smart fridges will let you see the contents of your fridge from your phone, but you still have to cook it yourself.
And that’s just the kitchen.
The Jetsons promised us a morning routine full of robotic hygiene machines that brush your hair and brush your teeth at the same time. Alternatively, we have some electric toothbrushes that are advertised on the podcast and still use AA batteries.
Skin care is more advanced – we have masks that shoot LED light on your face and home lasers that resurface your skin. The movie The Jetsons definitely underestimated how much everyone cares about aging in 2022.
When it comes to transportation, experimental military “jet bags” also technically exist in junk form, but you can’t use one. And self-driving cars could hit the market before 2062 if they can stop killing people on the streets.
Many fans – including Browsh and Graydon – cite flying cars as the Jetsons’ long-cherished invention. But they are also realistic about the challenges.
“[A flying car] “Until the first incident happened,” said Brosh.
Capitalism still exists in the future, even though George Jetson only works three hours, three days a week, pressing a button at the sprockets factory. Brusch said the depiction of the workday is where reality differs from the world of “The Jetsons,” at least in America, which still lags behind European nations in hours, work-life balance, and paid family leave.
“In this age, I think many of us are working more than ever,” he said. “This idea that automation will not only make our lives easier has led to the panic that it will replace work.”
No more “wow” factor.
We’ll never have a new show like “The Jetsons,” said Graydon, because we’ll never be naive about the future again.
“It’s even harder to create really amazing views of the future,” he said. “Technology is moving so fast, it’s actually very difficult to achieve the ‘wow’ factor.”
By 2022, our optimism for the future has given way to a clear view of the obstacles: endless energy demands, supply chains, climate change, socioeconomic gaps, government inertia, and delusional tech-riches at all buttons. Our science fiction has become decidedly bleak. Apple TV’s “Severance” envisions a world where the workday technically never ends, while Westworld is filled with killer robots.
Now, the savvy audience will demand to know what the world looks like outside of Jetson’s space age home.
“What about the people on Earth?” Brosh asked. “Do they still live there?”
The show largely suggests that the Earth has been ravaged by smog, pollution, and extreme weather, making for a grim reality as humanity decided to live on top of their problems rather than make lifestyle changes to fix them.
When you think about it, all the tech advancements in the show point to a lazier future, a possible precursor to Pixar’s “WALL-E” world, where clueless humans live sedentary lives, oppressed by scheming robots. At The Jetsons, there are moving walkways and motorized chairs everywhere; Buildings centered on the sky make walking impossible anyway.
In the cartoon, everything is amazing, and yet no one is happy – but that’s how the creators planned it.
“It talks about the idea that as human beings we will always have something to complain about,” Graydon said. “One of the problems with Utopia is, if you create a perfect world, this world can be very boring.”