The 15th episode of “The Jetsons” originally aired on January 6, 1963 and was titled “Millionaire Astro.” The conservative element in this episode has to do with an issue that made plenty of headlines in 2012 — income inequality. Over the years, more daring forms of American futurism — everything from Edward Bellamy’s 1887 socialist utopian novel Looking Backward to the 1987-94 TV show “Star Trek: The Next Generation” — have envisioned eras with vastly different economic structures (including the obsolescence of money). But within the Jetsons world, billionaires still exist. The billionaire in question here may be quite unlovable, but there’s a familiarity viewers have with the gag — rich people still exist in the future and your attempts to win in a court of law against them are essentially worthless.
The mansion of billionaire J. P. Gottrockets in the January 6, 1963 episode of The Jetsons
Technologically, things have advanced. But socially, economically and culturally “The Jetsons” represents a future that is not unlike the world of 1963. They are stuck in time. This of course has a very practical reason: the people of 1962-63 when the first (and only original) season aired needed to watch something with which they could relate. But as the most important piece of futurism of the 20th century, it’s interesting to note that it represents an idealized society that is increasingly anachronistic with each passing year.
Astro (aka Tralfaz) on his fancy automatic dog-walker at J.P. Gottrockets’ house