Everything about the series was about a species marching voluntarily toward their own extinction.
Looking back, that was pretty risky stuff we were doing on what was ostensibly a kids show.
In addressing the downfall of humanity, the writers felt compelled to tackle gender bias. They wrote episodes in which both the male and female dinosaurs challenge archaic rules prescribed for them. (Male dinosaurs aren’t considered men until they howl at the full moon! Female dinosaurs shouldn’t work!) One major way the Dinosaurs accomplished this was with the introduction of Monica DeVertebrae, a brontosaurus who moves in next door to the Sinclairs. She’s a single, independent female who prompts Fran and Charlene with ideas that maybe their thoughts and needs are more important than society dictates. Feminism became a critical topic requiring our attention — right up there with destroying the planet.
Jacobs: "We would go to a board and make a list of subjects we were interested in tackling. Feminism was one of them, and there were offshoots of it: abortion, females in the workplace, gender bias. If you start with The Honeymooners — a large, dumb male and the much more intelligent wife with her arms crossed, and the male at the end finally saying, "Baby, you’re the greatest" — this was a formula that duplicated and duplicated [on TV], be it The Flintstones or Roseanne, just go on down the line. It’s a formula that comes from reality, and lots of television that succeeds has to come from reality. What Dinosaurs showed was how foolish any gender bias is. But what it balanced with was coupling that with an environmental issue. We’re completely corrupting and polluting the environment. Within this environment is false gender bias as well as political issues that are coming apart."
Caplan: "We needed a Maude-type character [i.e. the strong, independent woman Bea Arthur played on TV from 1971 -78] to counteract the male stupidity on the show and talk a little common sense into these people. Looking back, that was pretty risky stuff we were doing on what was ostensibly a kids show. We thought it was important to comment on some of this stuff under the umbrella of being the first society, and mistakes they made, and that parenthetically we were still making sometimes. Ironically, too, we’re still battling some of the same stuff when it comes to the equal treatment of women that we were battling back then, too. The gender roles started with Fran and Earl, who are kind of a prototypical '50s couple, not too far off from The Honeymooners. Then down to Robbie, who was questioning what it meant to be a male dinosaur. Even the vegetarian episode [in which Robbie experiments with being a vegetarian, despite society’s insistence that he be a carnivore]. It was a metaphor for him maybe thinking he was gay and his father’s reaction to it. Down to what Charlene thought was available to her in that society. That’s something we always sunk our teeth into because it was all very thinly veiled reflections on what we were still battling, even though theoretically we’re 60 million years later."
And finally, in February 1992, Dinosaurs received a rave review from acclaimed TV critic Howard Rosenberg of the Los Angeles Times. Rosenberg reviewed the episode in which vegetarianism serves as a metaphor for homosexuality, he wrote that the show “finds its metier,” and was “genius in lizardom.” Young: "That was the landmark, that Howard Rosenberg story. We got nice reviews at the beginning — everybody loved the Hensons. They liked the look of it. They didn’t think it was necessarily that great a show, the critics, but they were okay. They were kind enough. We were kind of regarded as a kids show until Rosenberg wrote that piece. And then everyone realized, similar to The Simpsons, I guess, there was something else going on. Like, they’re actually being seditious here and telling stories within stories. There’s something for the adults, stuff aimed over the head of the kids."
We started to realize we could get away with basically anything.