May 3, 2015
Bamm-Bamm's Muscles: Gay Promise on "The Flintstones"
Right, Bamm-Bamm Rubble.
In an October 3rd, 1963 episode of The Flintstones, about "a modern prehistoric family," Betty and Barney Rubble are upset because they can't have children -- apparently Barney's sperm count is a little low. They wish on a falling star, and the next morning a baby appears on their doorstep, asleep in a turtle shell, holding a club.
He can only say "Bamm-Bamm," so that becomes his name. He turns out to have superhuman strength, easily carrying furniture and tossing his adopted father around.
I didn't see The Flintstones often, so I didn't notice that the writers failed to make much use of Bamm-Bamm's potential. His supernatural origins were rarely mentioned, and his super-strength became little more than a comic nuisance.
No gay symbolism: in fact, he began expressing toddler heterosexual interest, mooning over toddler-next-door Pebbles, romancing her in baby-talk. Eventually they were closing episodes by singing the treacly Sunday-school song "Open Up Your Heart (and Let the Sun Shine In)."
Nope. No mysterous origin. No superstrength. Bamm-Bamm wasn't even built -- he had skinny arms and legs and a shapeless lump of a body. He and Pebbles went to high school and belonged to a rock band, like everyone on Saturday morning in the 1970s.
A heterosexist conclusion to a story loaded with gay promise.
At least the Bamm-Bamm costume allows for some interesting cosplay.
See also: The Flintstones and Saturday Morning Muscle.