Both The Flintstones and The Jetsons are undoubtedly two of the greatest animated series ever made. Whether it is Fred and Barney's Stone Age shenanigans or the exploits of the Jetsons family in their futuristic home, these families are loved by fans and have remained popular over several decades. This popularity has likely inspired people - such as Cracked writers Anthony Scibelli and Logan Trent - to come up with a post-apocalyptic Flintstones theory.
The theory essentially tries to explain how The Flintstones and The Jetsons are connected and part of the same universe - after all, both cartoons are part of the Hanna-Barbera series with similar styles and settings. This Flintstones fan theory goes to extreme lengths to try and prove how thousands of years don't separate them, but that they actually take place at almost the same time.
Could it be that Fred and Wilma Flintstone are post-apocalyptic, long-distance neighbors and best friends with George and Jane Jetson? Or could they be living in the Jetsons' world, just months after a nuclear war destroyed Orbit City? This theory might convince you that all of this is true.
It's not simply a theory that the two cartoon franchises take place in a shared universe. Characters from each series have already interacted with each other in the 1987 animated flick The Jetsons Meet the Flintstones.
In the movie, the child genius Elroy Jetson builds a time machine intended to take his family to the far future. Instead, it malfunctions and transports them to the Stone Age where they encounter Fred, Barney, and the rest of the gang. Of course, this meeting is technically built around the concept of time travel and not a parallel universe. The idea lays the foundation for how the two families co-exist and interact despite vastly different origins.
Rather than mistakenly taking Elroy and the rest of the Jetsons to the past, as is depicted in The Jetsons Meet the Flintstones, the theory contends that the time machine worked perfectly, taking the characters to the designated future period of the 25th century. Cracked writers Logan Trent and Anthony Scibelli sum up this premise with a simple question: "Could [The Flintstones], in fact, be set in a post-apocalyptic future wasteland that's been 'bombed back to the Stone Age' for real?"
However, the world the characters find themselves in resembles the past - after all, only remnants of human life could endure a nuclear disaster that destroyed much of society. The Flintstones and other Bedrock residents are living in a post-apocalyptic future, and the Jetsons reach this society through the time machine.
The post-apocalyptic theory argues that nuclear war destroyed the world and led to a split in society, as modern-day civilization was wiped out and replaced with a primitive form of culture. The survivors of the disaster then tried to live on the surface. Without access to traditional power and resources, society on the planet regressed to a Stone Age-like system, an idea which Trent and Scibelli also suggested in their Cracked post.
After several hundred years, the Flintstones, residents of Bedrock, and the surrounding cities are what humanity has managed to rebuild. Thus, the Jetsons's world might have even pre-dated the Flintstones's world - that is, all the futuristic technology, robots, and rockets of the Jetsons' world have collapsed, leaving the Flintstones with the remnants of high-tech devices, but with none of the fancy trappings.
Both The Flintstones and The Jetsons launched during the 1960s. This was a period in global history when the Cold War was escalating, an era which writers Trent and Scibelli explore as well, asking, "What if a nuclear showdown between the Soviets and Americans was what blew Bedrock to kingdom come?"
The Cold War had a profound impact on popular culture, with many films, novels, and television shows reflecting the mood. As nuclear war became a genuine threat, these cartoons somehow imagined what would have happened if bombs almost destroyed society: the survivors would have either had to live away from the Earth's surface in some kind of floating city or somehow sustain themselves on the nearly uninhabitable planet.