Dinosaurs

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Dinosaurs TV Poster Image
Dino puppet-driven sitcom deals with modern issues.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Family is important. Issues including environmentalism, feminism, and racism are discussed through the lens of a dinosaur-based community. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

They aren't perfect, but the Sinclairs love each other. 

Violence

Some yelling and roaring. References like "holding a gun to one's head." Baby likes to hit Earl on the head with a frying pan or baseball bat. 

Sex

Some innuendo, including references to masturbation that will go over young kids' heads. Ultimately baby dinosaurs hatch from eggs. 

Language

"Damn."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Earl likes to drink beer. Drug abuse and using steroids addressed.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Dinosaurs is a 1990s sitcom featuring a family who happen to be life-sized dinosaur puppets. It contains references to all kinds of topics, ranging from racism and LGBTQ rights to feminist and environmental issues. There are some sexual references, some of which will go over the heads of younger viewers. Beer drinking is frequent, and episodes deal with drug abuse and steroid use. There's some yelling (and roaring), words like "damn" are used, and one character likes to hit another on the head with a frying pan. Throughout it all, the importance of family is highlighted. 

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What's the story?

DINOSAURS features a clan of dinosaurs residing in a working-class suburb of Pangaea in 60,000,003 BC. Megalosaurus Earl Sinclair (Stuart Pankin) works for the Wesayso Corporation pushing down trees to support his Allosaurus wife Fran (Jessica Walter) and his kids, a Hypsilophodon named Robbie (Jason Willinger), a Protoceratops named Charlene (Sally Struthers), and Baby (voiced by Elmo's Kevin Clash), an obnoxious infant Ceratosaurus. But sometimes life as a modern-day dinosaur isn't all it's cracked up to be, especially when his dinner escapes, or he has to face his Triceratops boss, Bradley P. Richfield (Sherman Hemsley). Dealing with his mother-in-law, Ethyl (Florence Stanley), an annoying Edmontonia, is no picnic, either. Luckily, when Earl needs to take a break, he's got his buddy Roy (Sam McMurray), a rather slow T. Rex, to hang out with. Dealing with the day-to-day grind can be challenging, but in the end, Earl knows that the most important thing in his life is his family. 

Is it any good?

This unique sitcom, which was conceived by Jim Henson a year prior to his death, features life-sized dinosaur puppets dealing with modern-day issues. As in any sitcom, some of the storylines are silly and mundane. But others are slightly more sophisticated, as members of the family think about their place in the universe, and their potential future. 

Original fans of Dinosaurs may enjoy tuning in again, and might even be surprised by the range of topics discussed that are relevant today, including LGBTQ rights, racism, sexism, and environmental issues. But despite some moments of smart writing, viewers tuning in for the first time may find Dinosaurs a little slow-moving, or just a little too weird. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about family relationships. Even though these characters are dinosaurs, they deal with many of the same issues that most families come across. Wht makes your family special? How do you communicate?

  • Is a sitcom like Dinosaurs a good platform to address controversial issues? What are the benefits of doing so? Drawbacks? 

TV details

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