There is a meme circulating online this weekend— and has been hanging around for the past few months, long enough to have her got the snout treatment already – that tomorrow, July 31, 2022, is the birthday of cartoon future man George Jetson. Just like the day he was actually born, whereupon this animated sad man is exposed for the first time to the world that treats him so cruelly, endlessly spinning him straight to hell on a futuristic treadmill. This meme’s superficial appeal is obvious: It’s a textbook update (and quite literal, considering the show uses it) of the old “Where are the flying cars?” Question, an exploration of the discrepancy between the future imagined by speculative fiction writers and the reality in which we live.
But it’s also a question that hypothetically should have an actual answer, which is the sort of thing that tickles the most pedantic (and thus biggest and most important) parts of our brains. However, the problem with solving this question is this The Jetsons is not like terminator or Back to the Future, where we get nice, simple displays of the dates (since past) of various futuristic events. Instead, it’s a goofy cartoon that usually went out of its way to cover up when its very odd vision of the future (where walking was left on the ground, but jokes about women who like to buy shoes weren’t) actually took place.
So let’s think about it too damn closely: is George Jetson actually born tomorrow?
Let’s omit the date first: as far as we can tell, there’s no canon evidence that George Jetson’s birthday is July 31st. Or any date; We can’t find anything in the actual show that ever sets a birthday for this poor, horrible man. No episodes appear to take place during it, it doesn’t seem to have been mentioned as a plot point in any of the show’s three seasons (either the first in 1962 or the two ’80s revival seasons), and the only source ever cited for it, is an easy-to-edit fandom wiki. (Meanwhile, Wikipedia has locked changes on George’s side to combat the hordes of George Jetson Birthday Truthers currently storming his gates.) So there’s that part that’s debunked/de-funned for good.
The 2022 part, meanwhile, has at least one littleSquint-and-it tracks, a touch of canonicity to that. As our own colleagues at gizmodo pointed out a few years ago— As we delve into the equally important question of whether George and Jane’s seven-year age difference has revealed inconvenient truths about their relationship — there’s text that suggests George Jetson is actually 40 on the “Test Pilot,” George remarks that he has 110 years to live.)
However, the shrug places the show itself in time. Hanna-Barbera never really gave a definitive answer about the year The Jetsons was discontinued, although it was often described as taking place a century in the future. Many people have interpreted this to mean that the series is specifically set in the year 2062, 100 years after the original debut, which would indeed mean that George himself is coming to the planet as a COVID baby sometime in the next few months.
But. but! Consider this: In 2017 The Jetsons & WWE: Robo Wrestlemania! (in which former WWE Superstars and Vince McMahon must travel from the past to defeat a revived Big Show after he unleashes an army of Wrestlebots to take over Orbit City), we’re specifically told that Big Show has been “since frozen in ice for 100 years” – while George, Jane, Judy and their boy Elroy don’t seem to have aged a day.
Sure, we have evidence above that Jetson people are longer-lived (did you know these buggers only work two hours a week?), but nothing to suggest their kids aren’t aging anywhere near normal. The only conclusion we can draw from this is this The Jetsons keeps running a sliding time in the style of Marvel Comicsscale all the timeand that the series always takes place in 100 years. Means that George Jetson cannot have been born tomorrow as George Jetson’s birthday is always 60 years in the future based on a given gift. And, so Xenos Paradox style, we realize that George Jetson will never really be born. You can never get the poor bastard off this crazy thing because he never thought of it in the first place.
(We can also conclude that it is very strange that WWE has a Jetsons movie in 20-goddamn-17.)
So what have we learned? On the one hand, you should never trust anything on the internet that makes you laugh or really feel something, because it probably didn’t properly cite its sources. On the other hand, you can total Kill an hour of an otherwise productive day by thinking about it too much The Jetsons on the Internet. And really, what could be a more glorious future than this?