Wilma Pebbles Slaghoople Flintstone
(maiden name Pebbles or Slaghoople
-- see below),is a fictional character
in the popular television animated series The Flintstones
. She was the red-headed wife of caveman Fred Flintstone
, daughter of Pearl Slaghoople
, mother of Pebbles Flintstone
and a grandmother. Her best friends were her next door neighbors, Betty
and Barney Rubble
Wilma's personality was based on that of Alice Kramden, wife of Ralph Kramden on the 1950s television series The Honeymooners. Thus, much like Alice, Wilma played the strong-willed, level-headed person in her marriage, often criticizing Fred for pursuing his various ill-fated schemes. Wilma would also often be the one to bail out Fred when one of his schemes landed him in trouble.
Fictional character biography
While the mid-1980s spin-off
series The Flintstone Kids
depicts Wilma as a child, the series seems to be mostly apocryphal
due to its presenting Wilma as a childhood friend of Fred and Barney (the original series asserted that they met as young adults) as well as using the last name Slaghoople instead of the original Pebbles. Still, the series' depictions that Wilma had younger sisters and that her father—who apparently died by the time Wilma reached adulthood—ran a prehistoric computer business might be taken as valid. Wilma did mention having a married sister in the sixth season.
As a young adult, Wilma worked with Betty as cigarette girls/waitresses at a resort. There, they first met and fell in love with their future husbands, Fred and Barney (who were working there as bellhops). Wilma's mother, Pearl Pebbles Slaghoople, also met her future son-in-law, and took a disliking toward Fred (and vice-versa), starting a long-lasting rivalry between the two.
Eventually, Wilma and Fred were married, and Wilma became a homemaker, keeping house with such prehistoric aids as a baby elephant vacuum cleaner, pelican washing machine, and so forth. Wilma also enjoyed volunteering for various charitable/women's organizations in Bedrock, shopping, and (occasionally) getting to meet the celebrities of their world, including "Stony Curtis" and "Cary Granite".
In the original series' third season, Wilma became pregnant, and gave birth to the couple's only child, Pebbles.
When Pebbles was a teenager, Wilma (along with Betty) gained employment as a reporter for one of Bedrock's newspapers, the Daily Granite (a spoof of the Daily Planet of Superman fame), under the editorial guidance of Lou Granite (a parody of The Mary Tyler Moore Show's Lou Grant). While employed there, she shared various adventures with prehistoric superhero Captain Caveman, who (in a secret identity) also worked for the newspaper (a la Clark Kent).
Later still, after Pebbles grew up and left home, Wilma started a successful catering business with her neighbor and friend Betty, before becoming a grandmother to Pebbles' twin children, Chip and Roxy.
Maiden name controversy: Pebble or Slaghoople?
Wilma's maiden name has been a source of dispute. Several early episodes in the original series clearly stated Wilma's maiden name was "Pebbles." In the episode "The Entertainer" (P-44), Wilma's old friend Greta Gravel remembers her as "Wilma Pebbles". Again, in "Dial S for Suspicion" (P-74), one of Wilma's old boyfriends Rodney Whetstone calls her "Wilma Pebbles." However, it could be possible that Pebbles is her middle name. This wouldn't be illogical, due to the potential difficulty of pronouncing Slaghoople.
However, later episodes and spin-offs also firmly state her maiden name was indeed "Slaghoople," based upon the name of Wilma's mother in the original series, Pearl Slaghoople. Flintstones' writer Earl Kress explained the discrepancy as such: "[I]t's just as simple as (Hanna-Barbera) not caring about the continuity." Maybe Mr. Slaghoople was Pearl's second husband and he adopted Wilma when they married. This is supported by the fact that Wilma's biological father has passed away
Wilma and Fred's daughter is named "Pebbles" after Wilma's maiden surname.
She and Fred argue often because of Fred's laziness, and because Fred sometimes flirts with other women. In the 1994 film adaptation
, Fred actually does cheat on Wilma for his secretary, Sharon Stone, but even when she sees him flirting with her, she does not even think about divorcing him, despite temporarily leaving him later in the film. In A Flintstones Christmas Carol
, Wilma gets upset at Fred for accidentally revealing to her that he wanted to kiss an actress instead of her, but she favores him at the end of the film. In Flintstones: On the Rocks
her and Fred's marriage is not working out and they consider a divorce, but they make up at the end.
- Wilma was the first animated character to ever be portrayed as actually pregnant.
- The Red Dwarf characters Dave Lister and the Cat reach the conclusion that, "in all probability, Wilma Flintstone is the most desirable woman who ever lived." Cat admits that he would "go with Betty", but that he would be "thinking of Wilma". They then decide that it is an absurd conversation, since, according to Lister, "She'll never leave Fred, and we know it".
Jean Vander Pyl
was the original voice artist of Wilma until her death in 1999. Since then, Tress MacNeille
has taken over as Wilma's voice even when she voiced her in Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law
In the live-action film The Flintstones, Wilma was played by Elizabeth Perkins (although in the film, Vander Pyl made a cameo at Fred's Surprise party for being promoted at the Quarry in the conga line behind Dino. In the prequel film The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, she was played by Kristen Johnston.