Thirty years after her birth made cartoon history on her parents' popular prime-time series, Pebbles Flintstone ties the knot with Bamm-Bamm Rubble in "I Yabba-Dabba Do!," an animated movie airing at 7 p.m. Sunday on ABC (Channels 7, 3, 10 and 42).
Unhappily, this potentially enjoyable visit to a group of well-liked characters quickly sinks beneath the burden of a long, inane story and a plethora of outdated jokes.
Chaos reigns in Bedrock when Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm get engaged. After losing his job and the family nest egg, Fred finds himself facing a growing mountain of bills for the wedding. His attempts to resolve this domestic crisis cause numerous problems for the engaged couple, as well as Wilma, Betty, Barney and Dino. Needless to say, the many complications get sorted out just in time for a happy, somewhat sappy conclusion. (Look for the caricatures of executive producers William Hanna and Joe Barbera among the wedding guests.)
"The modern Stone Age family" has been one of Hanna-Barbera's most popular creations since the program premiered in 1960. A sitcom in the tradition of "The Honeymooners," "The Flintstones" spoofed suburban life in the Kennedy era by shifting it to 1 million BC. Three decades later, that vision of the good life has largely been discredited. Although no one expects "The Flintstones" to be as hip as "The Simpsons," writers Mark Seindenberg and Rich Fogel rely much too heavily on 1960-vintage humor: In 1993, jokes about a battle-ax mother-in-law seem more threadbare than funny.