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The Jetsons Season 2 Vol. 1 – DVD Review

jtsns2After almost a 15 year absence, The Jetsons returned for Season 2 and were programmed for Saturday morning in the mid 80s instead of prime time. The result is an initial adult-based show that slowly got a little lazy in terms of story and edge despite having a great original cast. However the creation is an exercise in the difference time and demo.makes.

Disc 1 “Elroy Meets Orbitty”  has young Elroy bringing home a meteorite who ends up being alive. It is not like they really needed a new character but the television writing element would seemingly push the narrative in that direction for the younger audience. The charcater is not bad but too touchy/feely at times. The key is how specifically its motivation it would be used in terms of story instead of the cute factor. “Rosie Come Home” is a popular episode where Rosie starts malfunctioning and thinks that the Jetsons want to get rid of her. They simply don’t know what wrong. She eventually is spotted by Judy as she is deliriously failing her driver’s test. Mac puts a new cylinder in Rosie and she throws the new robot down the garbage chute.  “Solar Snoops” has George doing some actual work. Mr. Spacely (voiced by Mel Blanc) is try to develop his chocolate cookie microchip while Cogswell is employing a robotic dog to steal it. The espionage basis is pretty soft but when George has to dress up like a woman and go out for a lunch with Cogswell, the vaudeville tends to come through. And Astro laughs like a banshee when he sees George as Georgina for the first time. It was great because they were laughing at themeselves. “Judy’s Birthday Surprise” has the big girl getting all freaked out because she thinks that no one remembered her birthday. One guy seems nice to her although he is the dweeb per se. She tells this all to her diary. It all works out in the end. Seems like an unsubstantiated episode to be sure. “Super George” has a new contraption able to change the reality of someone right before your eyes. However the thing goes bust leaving George as a superhero with big muscles. He of course breaks everything he touches. Through a set of pratfalls, he ends up in a wrestling arena while Mr. Spacely bets everything he has on the other fighter to win not knowing who the opponent was. Spacely always tries to bring Jetson down but his family saves him from an undeniable fate. “Family Fallout” works on the same precedent with Spacely trying to go head to head with Jetson on a game show since he knows that the family man will  not back own out of fear of his job. The only way Spacely can win is to have the office computer feed him answers. Rosie takes care of that ethics problem although she uses the same technique feeding answers to Astro telepathically. There seems a bit of hypocrisy here. “S.M.A.S.H” has the blame switching to Jane Jetson who wrecks Mr. Spacely’s extensive sports car when he loans it to George while he leaves town. The situation is of course ludicrous and vaudevillian since it is Jane’s suggestion that they tell people it was stolen. No one seems to think of the consequences through here.

Disc 2 “The Mirrormorph” has Judy ordering some special space clay since she wants to impress a new boy. It gets mixed up with some organic alien clay which can take on the form of whatever it touches. It slowly but surely throws domestic bliss out of control and gets George fired. He eventully gets his Spacely job back but jst because the clay disguised as him ate the prototype that rival Cogswell was making. What goes around comes around. “Mother’s Day For Rosie” has George realizing that Rosie feels bad about being left out of Mother’s Day. Mr. Spacely thinks George is having an affair on the side and oddly seems to endorse it. George finally finds a blue print which can act as a picture to Rosie of her mother. Jane however wants a stole as her present. “Jetson’s Millions” has the background of the Venutian lottery which George wins because Spacely sold him the winning ticket by mistake. After learning of the riches, Elroy gets a cool imaginator that can recreate worlds. Jane starts redoing the house. Mr. Spacely comes back at Jetson in an effort to swindle him out of his money to save his company. George will never learn. He ends up losing it all anyway because the Venutian economy collapsed. Very convenient. “Fugutive Fleas” shows George being turned down for another raise but Mr. Spacely ends up giving him tickets to a fun park. This seems almost a riff on “National Lampoon’s Vacation” without the Christie Brinkley conundrum. After going on the very “Wallyworld” rides, the Jetsons go to see a flea circus. Astro actually has a funny bit when he gets into the show past the guards with a kooky disguise. The fleas come back to Earth as stowaways on Astro because they need to escape from their vicious ringmaster. There are very much tinges of Pinnochio here. After returning to earth, the fleas get repped by a talent agent and create some very funky electronica. It is only at this intrinsic point to you realize that the cartoon was made in the 80s since Astro starts doing some breakdancing. Interestly enough, and one normally wouldn’t know this, there was only one season of “The Jetsons” that was made in the 60s . The rest was made in the 80s. You wouldn’t know the difference for the most part. Even when I was young watching some of the cartoons on Saturday morning (an element which is gone now) I thought these were just old episodes they were repeating. “Rip Off Rosie” has our favorite robot blowing her lid again because she eats the wrong lugnut (that sounded bad). She starts getting what could only be seen as obsessive/compulsive disorder before George brings her back from the brink. Almost sounds like a rehab episode. “Far Out Father” has Elroy telling his friends at school that his dad is the best. George is actually spending all day making sure Astro doesn’t jump the hot poodle next door whose owner wants him out. There are some pratfalls including one caught on camera for Elroy’s project with a daring escape from a garbage dump that makes George look cool. Astro eventually gets his way with the poodle but he seems more than happy to give the pups away. “Astro’s Big Moment” has the big ham wanting to win the dog show which George is judging at the request of Mr. Spacely. It is a far cry away from the 1st season episode where George is judging the beauty contest in which his wife is a secret contestant. The second season is less adult by far but it was showing on Saturday morning and then syndicated afterwards. They just wanted to get to that magic number which oddly today doesn’t mean that much. The situation of the dog show judging puts George between a rock and a hard place but eventually evens itself out. “The Jetsons: Return To The Future”, a hark to “Back To The Future” which was made the same year as the 2nd season of this series, is a small doc that talks about bringing the original cast back for this long gestating second season. A neat tidbit is that the woman who played Rosie was also the voice of Wilma Flinstone. Another great fact is that Gordon Hunt, the father of Helen, was the recording director as well as on the original I believe. He was mentioned in an interview I did at E3 at the Sony Booth for “Uncharted 2”. He was mentioned as being a voice director now for video games. Interesting in the evolution of his art.

Disc 3 “The Cosmic Courtship of George and Jane” brings a perspective into the proceedings. It isn’t divorce which gained its major traction in the 80s. It is the fact that George and Jane were never legally married because their minister was a con artist who just recently got caught. They go to Las Venus with the kids in an attempt to get newly married. They each tell their own story about George’s rival for Jane’s affections back in the day. The guy just happens to own the hotel they are staying at and starts trying to romance Jane again. It sounds a little like “Oceans 11”. George uses his old clumsy ways to get back Jane’s heart. He also gets a couple days off in the process and a free suite since Jane guilts Mr. Spaceley into relent at the fear of being exposed to his wife. “Fantasy Planet” has what seems like Ricardo Montalban and his sidekick using an old lady to lure the Jetsons to a paradoxical planet where fantasies comes true. Everyone in the family gets a wish which causes some friction because as soon as they realize their dream is filled, the consequences of success come along with it. “S’No Relative” has an Iceman being thawed out whom the family mistakes for their cousin from the moon. Elroy and Judy think the guy is a kick. Eventually the scientists catch the Iceman and then the real Moon guy shows up with a distinct loudness to his demeanor. “Instant Replay” has George getting a contraption fom an inventor that can help him reshape his life. He becomes successful by rewinding and changing all his faults but tries to change too many things to where his family disappears. He gives up everything to have them back. “Haunted Halloween” has George looking for a costume for Mr. Spacely in a would-be haunted house. Like the angle of Halloween for The Simpsons, things go awry and tend to seem more sinister than they actually are. “Future Tense” has Jane buying sunglasses on a galactic shopping spree than can allow her to see five minutes into the future. George tries to make money on it at the racetrack but the tax guys catch up to them. George and Jane thought they were gangsters. Finally, “The Wrong Stuff” has Astro and Elroy going on a long space flight it seems to the moon. The geography seems way off in this episode. The Rip Van Winkle process comes into play and is fixed by a small thrill ride. The writers seem to be shortcutting on the some of the final episodes of this volume but they might have been rushed to meet a deadline.

“Jetsons Season 2 Vol. 1” starts off as nearly indistinguishable from its 1st season counterpart in the 60s. It however is a little more family friendly and, for the first two discs, seems to keep up the same old comedic style. However, on the 3rd disc, the narrative start losing its cohesion and resorting to more direct cuture references and lazy storytelling which takes away from the timelessness of the series. It becomes half here and half there. Because of this shift, I give “The Jetsons Season 1 Volume 2” on DVD a 2.

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