Michael Wermuth, Jr.’s Top Ten Dinosaurs Episodes
Michael Wermuth, Jr. – Dinosaurs was a great series, and it had many great episodes. For this article, I’m going to list, in my opinion, the top ten greatest Dinosaurs episodes, in chronological order. Every episode is worth watching, but if you haven’t seen the series, I’d recommend watching these ten first.
1. “The Mighty Megalosaurus”
This was a good way to start the series, with Earl telling Baby the story of how he was born. I really like the Arthur Rizzic character, and considering he becomes Mr. Richfield’s assistant at the end, I wonder why we never saw him again (well, aside from the puppet being reused a handful of times). He would have made a good Smithers-type to Richfield’s Mr. Burns. And it seems like Richfield isn’t as mean here as he would later become. One of my favorite scenes from this episode is where the Baby hatches from his egg, a very adorable scene. I also like Howard Handupme’s line at the start of this episode:”A meteorite twice the size of earth is heading, to bring an end to plant and food life. This just in? No it’s not.”
2. “The Family Challenge”
A very memorable episode to me. Both TV sets in the Sinclair household break (one due to a meteor), and when insurance refuses to pay, the family has to talk to each other at dinner (which Fran is happy about while the others would rather watch television). Earl enters the family on a TV game show, The Family Challenge, after learning that the grand prize is a large television set–but without telling the rest of the family. After preparing for a month Earl learns the value of family–and all of the categories are TV-related. As a kid, I didn’t realize that the shows the family watches at the beginning–”Pangea’s Funniest Home Injuries” and “Pangea’s 2nd Funniest Home Injuries”–were meant to be parodies of America’s Funniest Home Videos.
3. “Refrigerator Day”
The closest thing the show had to a Christmas episode, the cast celebrates Refrigerator Day, celebrating the invention that made civilization possible for the dinosaurs, in addition to getting presents (and with no religious meaning the whole holiday is commercial). Unfortunately, Mr. Richfield refuses to give his employees their expected Fridge Day bonuses, and with bills to pay, the Sinclair’s refrigerator gets repossessed. This episode has many funny scenes, including the paint commercial (“We wish you a Merry Fridge Day so come in and buy paint!”), Baby refusing to hit Earl when he lets him, and Earl’s fantasy sequence where Richfield is a very nice guy. I also like Earl’s line “Spent all our money on presents, which isn’t hard considering what I make.”
When the Chief Elder dies (right before naming the Baby, causing a misunderstanding where the Baby’s new name is “Ugh Ugh I’m Dying You Idiot”), B.P. Richfield runs for Chief Elder, and has Earl run against him (so he’ll be sure to win). But eventually Earl becomes convinced he has to win and eventually wins over the voters, only to have second thoughts on whether he’s right for the job. In the end, neither Sinclair or Richfield win, and the Baby gets a new name (which ends up being what they had already been calling him). I like the beginning, where Fran mentions various events from previous episodes, as well as the Sinclair children singing “The Name Game” and struggling to rhyme “Ugh Ugh I’m Dying You Idiot.”
5. “What Sexual Harris Meant”
Monica gets a job at WESAYSO and on her first day gets fired for resisting the advances from foreman Al “Sexual” Harris, who uses double-meaning sexual innuendos when talking to women. This results in a hearing against the company, where Richfield and other employers constantly make her look bad. It’s hard to tell if she actually wins, though. I really like the victory song sung by the male dinosaurs (“We are man, hear us roar. We are macho dinosaurs.”).
6. “A New Leaf”
A very funny parody of “very special episodes,” after a fight with Earl, Robbie decides to run away from home, where he and Spike find a plant that makes them happy. Robbie brings some of the plants home, making Earl and Charlene happy. Earl soon takes some to work, where he gets fired (but eventually his co-workers and even Mr. Richfield become hippies). After the happiness of the plant effects their lives in a bad way, Fran takes the Baby (the two having not used the plant) and leaves until they recover. This episode has some hilarious scenes, such as when Robbie thinks their lives are on TV, Earl wonders why our metric system is based on ten when they only have eight fingers, and of course the ending, where the characters are shown on the set of the series and Robbie gives a talk on the dangers of drugs, which lead to sitcoms having unfunny episodes for the sake of an anti-drug message. So take Robbie’s advice: “Say no to drugs. Help put an end to preachy sitcom endings like this one.”
The Antediluvian Broadcasting Corporation tests their new fall line-up on Earl, who is unimpressed with all of the shows he sees… except for the test pattern. The network executives think he’s a nut, but when the highest-rated show of the fall season is the late-night test patterns, they appoint Earl as a network executive, who eventually gets tired of test patterns and puts on such shows as “Baby Cuddlebunny, MD” (a parody of the shows own Baby Sinclair, with the catch phrase “Not the pajamas!”) and “Box Full of Puppies.” Unfortunately, these shows cause viewers to lose their intelligence (with comical results). At Fran’s insistence, Earl schedules brainier shows that he doesn’t even understand, which succeed in making viewers smart again (in fact Robbie and Charlene start to become a lot smarter than they previously were) and become a ratings success–until Dinosaurs decide there are more fulfilling ways to spend their time than watching television.
It’s the classic “Smoo” episode! The Sinclair’s hear the dirty word “smoo” on television and, after laughing at the fact that a dirty word was spoken on TV, the Baby constantly repeats the word. After the historical first use of “smoo” being said on television leads to a TV show all about the word, Earl starts a group to protest the networks about it, but when their efforts fail they go to the government. The government agrees, but then starts censoring more words, and then causes censorship not only on TV but in real life, which includes male dinosaurs having to wear pants. It’s a funny episode with a lesson on censorship and free speech, and smoo sure is a funny word.
9. “The Son Also Rises”
In this episode, Robbie, tired of being bossed around by Earl, challenges his father for male supremacy of the house, and ends up winning. At first, Robbie enjoys being the head of the household, but eventually tires of the hard work he has to do, while Earl starts to act like a kid. In fact, when Robbie asks Earl to be the head of the house again, Earl initially refuses, only to change his mind for a somewhat childish reason: Thursday nights are “adults only” at the miniature golf course. I really like how at the beginning, when Earl goes to the miniature golf course to yell at Robbie for not cutting the grass, he brings a piece of the grass to the golf course (and Robbie does the same basic thing to Earl later).
10. “Earl, Don’t Be a Hero”
In this episode, Earl gets promoted to toxic waste supervisor at WESAYSO, and after coming in contact with the toxic waste, he gains superpowers. He is happy that Baby has become a fan, but then Richfield happens to see him use his superpowers and informs him that the contract Earl signed with the company states that any employee who gets superpowers becomes property of the company, and Earl has to promote WESAYSO-sponsored events, putting it ahead of stopping crime. I really like the scene at the beginning when Baby watches another superhero, Captain Action Figure, who promotes an official Captain Action Figure signal ring, stating that “you’re mommy will buy it for you… IF she loves you.”
The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, firstname.lastname@example.org