Saturday, May 9, 2020

The Jetsons: "Mother's Day For Rosie"

Premiered October 1, 1985.

It's the day before Mother's Day in Orbit city and the Jetson children are preparing to honor their mother Jane (Penny Singleton).  Her son Elroy (Daws Butler) has composed a poem for the occasion.  Daughter Judy (Janet Waldo) plans to give her mother a plant.  Jane tells her husband George (George O'Hanlon) she doesn't need a present from him because they need to be "sensible."  George happily agrees with Jane.

In the midst of the Mother's Day festivities, the Jetsons' robot maid Rosie (Jean Vander Pyl) feels left out.  She has no recollections or pictures of her mother.  Rosie tears up and blows a fuse when she reads Elroy's poem.

George decides to visit the robot factory so he can take a picture of the "previous model," which would be Rosie's "mother."  The factory's manager (Gregg Berger) can't find the earlier model robot, but says he will call George if it turns up.

Elsewhere, Jane and Rosie go shopping and see a synthetic stole at Spacey's department store.  Jane hopes that George will get her the stole as a Mother's Day present.  When Rosie points out that she told George not to buy her any presents, she can't recall saying that.

While George is at work, Jane calls his boss Mr. Spacely (Mel Blanc) on the visiphone.  She asks him to tell George that the stole at Spacey's is the best gift in the universe...but asks Spacely NOT to say that she said that.  This leads to confusion at both ends, so Spacely asks George to buy the stole for Mrs. Spacely.

Will George be able to get a picture of Rosie's mother?  Will he get the stole for Judy?  Will Mother's Day be a disaster for everyone?

J.A. Morris says:
This Mother's Day episode was part of the 1980s revival of The Jetsons, not the original 1962 series. All the original voice actors returned, so it feels very similar to the earlier episodes.

There aren't many Mother's Day episodes or specials, so we were glad to discover "Mother's Day For Rosie."  It might seem like a just another silly cartoon, but this episode brings up a serious topic.  Like Rosie, a lot of people have difficulties on Mother's Day because their mother has passed away or they never knew their mother, or they wanted to be a mother, but could not.  Even though Rosie is a cartoon robot, her emotions feel real.

Having said that, "Mother's Day For Rosie" has some problematic aspects that were probably outdated even in 1985.  Jane explicitly states to George that she doesn't want him to buy Mother's Day present...then she gets upset when he doesn't buy her anything.  It feels like a "women, amirite?" joke about stereotypes.

George doesn't come off very well either in this episode.  At one point he calls himself "the biggest idiot in the universe" and that's pretty accurate.  Maybe the creative team thought making both Judy and George look made things "even."  However making the mother come off as materialistic and scatterbrained isn't a very good look for a Mother's Day episode.

A note about the voice actors:
Before we watched this episode for reviewing purposes, I didn't know that Judy is voiced by Penny Singleton.  Her other famous role was playing Blondie, title character from the comic strip of the same name, in twenty-eight feature films and she also played Blondie on radio for eleven years.

Penny Singleton in a publicity still from the movie Blondie On A Budget.
I enjoyed the parts that dealt with Rosie's, and it was nice to hear the original voice actors, but the rest of the episode isn't very good.

J.A. Morris' rating:


2 and a half Mother's Day bouquets

RigbyMel says:

I remember watching the 1980s version of The Jetsons but I don't have any recollection of this particular episode.   As J.A. Morris says, there are not all that many Mother's Day episodes out there, so it's nice to find this.   It's also nice to know that the voice actors are pretty much the same voice cast from the original 1960s series. 

It's kind of sweet that George decides to go out of his way to find Rosie the Robot's "mother" for her when he realizes she is sad.  The sitcom miscommunication not saying what you really want stuff re. Jane is somewhat less endearing.   There is definitely a very 1960s notion of what constitutes gender roles in the "nuclear family" of the Jetsons' future in evidence.  

Considering that "Mother's Day for Rosie" is a 22 minute cartoon, there is a fair amount of filler in the episode that has little or nothing to do with the main story.  There's a scene that focuses on a robot dog at the robot store and another extended scene showing Jane and Rosie experiencing several virtual reality type travel scenarios at a travel agent's office.  

"Mother's Day for Rosie" is certainly an enjoyable bit of retro-futurism with a Mother's Day theme,  but it's probably not a classic for the ages. 

RigbyMel's rating:  

2 Mother's Day bouquets