If you can get past the anthropomorphic puppets and the screaming catch phrases, you will remember that Dinosaurs was a pretty good show. At its core, it was a traditional family show, about a blue-collar dad trying to take care of his family. The mother was the glue that held everything together, while the children obnoxiously trudged their way to and through puberty, much to the frustration of their parents.
It doesn’t sound too different from ABC’s current canon of family-oriented shows. The difference between Modern Family and Dinosaurs, however (besides the puppets) was the not so subtle agenda it promoted. Thinly disguised as “dinosaur” issues, the show boldly took on topical trends like environmentalism, religion, homosexuality, and feminism.
From a distance, the show looked like another Jim Henson joint. It drew inspiration from The Honeymooners, as the family sitcom formula wasn’t such a staple in the early ’90s like it is today. The patriarch and bumbling leader, Earl, has as much in common with Fred Flinstone as he does with any other primetime dad, and he often slipped into antiquated moments of misogyny or conservatism.
His wife, Fran, kept him in check, often coming out looking like the wiser of the two, and was the voice of reason among the crazies in her house. Although this sounds like regular business now, Dinosaurs was ahead of it’s time, forging the way for the TV-family paradigm.
Since you probably watched it as a younger viewer, you should definitely rewatch it with an adult’s perspective. It will likely look a lot different these days.