Friday, December 21, 2012

Winter is Coming

The world is going to end.

Maybe not today, but eventually, the world must come to an end.  It's not a concept we can ever fully grasp because we'll never be able to witness life after humanity.  As long as we're still here, we're safe.

The end of the world is a popular concept for stories to explore.  Some fill them with action and humor, while others are more somber, cautionary tales.  But in the end, even if all of our main human characters die out, at least we can look around the movie theater and take comfort in the fact that it was just a story.

Dinosaurs didn't have that luxury.  From the very first episode, we knew that extinction was imminent. Unlike The Flintstones, Dinosaurs presented a world filled with allusions to their demise.  This isn't a fantasy world that's all fun and games.  This is our prehistory.  And we can fill it with as many jokes as we like, but it doesn't change the ending.

So, for the series finale, Dinosaurs was able to do something that no other show was capable of.  It presented an actual world-wide extinction.

It's the end of the world as we know it.

The show was filled with arrogant, dim-witted dinosaurs who never cared or thought about their future.  There was a dramatic irony present every time a dinosaur proclaimed his power and indestructibility.  Usually, these claims came from the mouth of Earl Sinclair.  So, of course, it only made since that he would be the one to bring about the end of days.

Father of the Epoch

As the population of Pangaea awaits the arrival of the bunch beetles, who will devour the invasive cider poppies, Earl revels in his modern technology which can beat nature anytime.  Of course, these advancements end up beating nature as the construction of a WESAYSO-owned factory over the bunch beetles' mating swamp causes them all to die out.

It's sad for the beetles, but at least we can enjoy some fake fruit!

The death of the beetles causes the poppies to cover the entire globe.  In order to get rid of the poppies, Richfield puts Earl in charge of a poisonous spray that could take care of the infestation (since Earl is the only one foolish enough to believe this technological process is beneficial, and therefore can take the blame if it fails).  Earl's spray wipes out the poppies, and all plant life on Earth.

There's no recovering from this, not for a while anyway.

To bring back the plants, Richfield convinces Earl that they should bomb the volcanoes of the world (since volcanoes make clouds which can make rain).  This instead results in an impenetrable sulfur cloud that covers the Earth's surface, causing temperatures to plummet and an unending snowstorm.  With the weather forecast predicting that the next appearance of the sun will be in tens of thousands of years, the dinosaurs must accept their fate.

This is the end for them.

Bundle up.  It's the apocalypse.

Earl takes this opportunity to meagerly apologize for his pig-headedness.  After years of despicable actions, he has finally learned his lesson.  As a representative of the stock sitcom male trope, Earl is able to experience the ultimate life lesson.  Sure, Homer Simpson can mess up and end the world in a Halloween episode, but only Earl Sinclair can actually erase his species permanently.

As the incoming Ice Age approaches, Earl has to explain to Baby Sinclair what exactly is going to happen to the world.  Like when Big Bird learned about Mr. Hooper's death, Baby's new knowledge is difficult to sit through, but necessary to hear.  He will never grow up and his family tries to make sure that his last moments are filled with love.

And he still never quite gets it.  Stay innocent forever.

There is a heavy environmentalist message associated with this episode, but when it comes down to it, the end was inevitable.  Sure, it's not wise to bring about Armageddon, but it cannot be avoided forever.  The writers of Dinosaurs knew that even if they lasted millions of years, the dinosaurs time on this earth was brief.

Whether we are mockingly scoffing at today's doomsday predictions or hunkering in our bomb shelters, we should remember that our time is short.  We've got to make the most of it for ourselves and for future generations.  Otherwise, it had might as well end now.

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