For some, the dawning of a new year can be a clean slate, a time of renewal and redemption. For others, it is a challenge, a call to greatness. And for Christopher Fittz, it was simply a reason to watch all 65 episodes of ABC’s prehistoric, puppet-based 1990s sitcom Dinosaurs back to back in one sitting. In defiance of reason and good judgment, Christopher spent 22 hours (and change) of his January 1 watching this bizarre crossbreeding of The Flintstones and The Simpsons, a staple of the Alphabet Network’s kid-friendly TGIF Friday night lineup for four seasons.
For those who have forgotten or who have actively suppressed their memories of the series, Dinosaurs was a typical domestic sitcom, only with overheated actors lumbering around in grotesque, full-body dinosaur costumes created by Jim Henson Productions. Jim himself had been dead a year before the series debuted, and as Fittz points out, the debut episode of Dinosaurs begins with a somber memorial to the departed Muppeteer. Fun, right?
What does mainlining Dinosaurs do to a person? Is such a marathon a test of the very limits of human sanity? How many iterations of the show’s semi-popular “not the mama” catchphrase can one person endure? Fortunately, Fittz live-tweeted the entire experience, posting a few pithy comments on each episode and even keeping the Twitterverse updated on his bathroom breaks. He soon discovered that the series dealt with some uncomfortable issues, including euthanasia, puberty, and the mechanics of sexual reproduction. One particularly poignant lesson: “In Dinosaurs, tails are boobs.” Several hours later, this revelation: “Jason Alexander is doing the voice of the sexual harassment dinosaur. Clearly a career highlight.” Those hoping for a complete mental breakdown will be disappointed. While Fittz does show occasional signs of fatigue (“WHAT AM I EVEN WATCHING?”), he maintains his equanimity and humor throughout the ordeal. In the end, what did he have to show for his troubles? Eight fewer Twitter followers. “That’s it,” he wrote after the show’s notorious, apocalyptic finale. “I’m going to sleep. Maybe forever.”