What if you had a control-z in real life? What if you could undo things you've done if you screw up or things don't go as planned?

Then the replayola device is just what you're looking for! The replayola can allow the possessor to rewind, modify, or completely erase any point in time! Did you just rear end somebody on the highway? If you have the replayola, you can just rewind time and avoid doing that the second time, or just erase the event completely. Did you have a bad job interview? Did the potential new boss just not like you? Using the replayola, you could have a second chance to make that first impression; the second time around he'll be crazy about you!

The replayola device appeared in an episode of The Jetsons entitled "Instant Replay." It originally aired on March 9, 1985. The episode begins with George Jetson having one of the worst days of his life. His car breaks down and he has to ride the bus. He has no tokens, so the driver takes his watch instead. He sits in front of an irritating boy who yells "I hate this man!" George encounters a genius inventor, voiced by Greg Berg, who gives him a replayola. With this device, the bus driver allows George to mail his tokens in and the boy is suddenly nice. Enamored with the replayola, George begins using it to fix all kinds of problems and his worst day becomes his best.

That is, until an old flame of his wife, Jane, pays a visit to Orbit City. This man kissed Jane first before George, which has always caused George much acrimony towards him. In his boldest replayola move yet, George decides to redo that kissing event - no, erase that whole day!

But George forgot that that day was the day of his wedding to Jane!

George suddenly finds himself in a life where he is rich and sucessful, but he does not have the things he'd held most dear: his beloved wife and kids (Elroy and Judy). Even though he's rich and powerful, George is suddenly miserable.

In the end, George ends up using the replayola to modify time so he never had it. After that, the kid on the bus really hates him and his day is even worse than it originally was! But getting his family back was well worth it.

I think that, for a kid's show, this episode of the Jetsons tackles a lot of adult moral and philosophical issues. If you had a real replayola, what would you do with it? I think it is a very smart episode, one of the best of the entire series. It explores the possibilities, good and possibly disastrous, of using a device that modifies or erases time. Like the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Tapestry," changing one little thread in your life could unravel the whole thing. One little slip up with the replayola could completely change your life in unintended ways. Or you could ruin somebody else's. Would bettering your own life be worth that?

I think this episode teaches, above all else, that mucking around in time is probably not a good idea.


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