10 TV Shows You Never Knew Were Blatant Rip-Offs

9. The Flintstones (1960-66)

flintstones2 Ah yes, everyone's favorite Stone Age Family, The Flintstones. You probably saw the cartoon series and its spin-offs on Cartoon Network and other cartoon-oriented stations. There was Flintstones merchandise and Flintstones-endorsed brand products like the Cocoa and Fruity Pebbles cereals. The Flintstones even had its own chewable vitamin range for children. But you probably didn't know that the '60s prime-time cartoon was based on (or at least inspired by, according to co-creator Joseph Barbera) another classic sitcom€”Jackie Gleason's The Honeymooners (1955-56). Based on a series of radio and television sketches, The Honeymooners is about a pair of urban working-class couples, Kramdens and the Nortons, who go through everyday troubles and zany schemes. Ralph Kramden (Jackie Gleason) is a boisterous, short-tempered, and heavy-set bus driver who is constantly frustrated with the world. He is easily seduced by get-rich-quick schemes, and he always involves his best friend, sewer worker Ed Norton (Art Carney). Ed is a dim-witted but lovable guy who is always loyal to Ralph, even to the point of putting up with some of bigger guy's insults. Whenever the two men get out of control in their schemes, their wives, Alice (Audrey Meadows) and Trixie (Joyce Randolph), are always there to bring their husbands' inflated egos back down to earth. Alice Kramden is a strong-willed, sarcastic woman who has zero tolerance for Ralph's BS. Whenever he makes an empty threat of hurting her, Alice always calls out her husband with an "Aw, shut up!" Although Trixie's sweetheart personality is not as well developed as the other three characters, she can pull her weight when the situation calls for it. She can either be a strong ally for Alice, or a devoted wife to Ed. The Honeymooners Based on these character descriptions, don't they all seem very familiar? To put it simply, the Flintstones and the Rubbles are the stone-age equivalents of the Kramdens and the Nortons. Fred is Ralph, Barney is Ed, Wilma is Alice, and Betty is Trixie. If you watch an episode of The Honeymooners and The Flintstones back-to-back, it feels like you are watching the same show, although the former show's comedy is more character-based with some slapstick, and the latter has a greater emphasis on the slapstick, due to the fact it is a cartoon. In fact, the similarities between The Honeymooners and The Flintstones were so strong, Jackie Gleason once considered suing Hanna and Barbara for ripping off his show. In the end, like Ralph Kramden, he backed down because he did not want to be known as the "guy who yanked Fred Flintstone off the air." Fred Flintstone would not be the only successor to Ralph Kramden. The exasperated bus driver would be a big influence behind later patriarch characters like Al Bundy, Homer Simpson, Michael Bluth...and Archie Bunker, which leads us to the next show.
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Rebecca Woolf is an aspiring film archivist with a film school degree and a near-encyclopedic knowledge about film and television. There is a reason one of her nicknames is HMDB, the Human Movie Database. Oh, and she's a Whovian too.