Wilma's personality is based on that of Alice Kramden, wife of Ralph Kramden on the 1950s television series The Honeymooners. Much like Alice, Wilma plays the strong-willed, level-headed person in her marriage, often criticizing Fred for pursuing his various ill-fated schemes. Wilma is often be the one to bail out Fred when one of his schemes lands 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 though the original series asserted that they first met as young adults.Still, the series' depictions that Wilma had younger sisters and an older brother, and that her father ran a prehistoric computer business might be taken as canon. Wilma mentions having a married sister in the sixth season of the original series.
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 and Fred eventually married, and Wilma became a homemaker, keeping house with such prehistoric aids as a baby elephantvacuum cleaner and pelican washing machine. Wilma is a good cook; one of her specialties is "gravelberry pie," the recipe for which she eventually sold to the "Safestone" supermarket chain. Wilma also enjoys volunteering for various charitable and women's organizations in Bedrock, shopping, and occasionally getting to meet the celebrities of their world, including Stony Curtis, Rock Quarry, and Jimmy Darrock.
In the original series' third season, Wilma becomes pregnant and gives birth to the couple's only child, Pebbles.
When Pebbles is a teenager, Wilma gains employment as a reporter for one of Bedrock's newspapers, the Daily Granite (a spoof of the Daily Planet of Superman fame), under editor Lou Granite (a parody of The Mary Tyler Moore Show's Lou Grant). While employed there, Wilma shares various adventures with prehistoric superhero Captain Caveman, who, in a secret identity, also works for the newspaper.
Later still, after Pebbles grows up and leaves home, Wilma starts a successful catering business with her neighbor and friend Betty, before becoming a grandmother to Pebbles' twin children, Chip and Roxy.
Wilma's maiden name is the subject of a continuity error. Several early episodes in the original series clearly stated Wilma's maiden name was "Pebble." In the second season episode "The Entertainer", Wilma's old friend Greta Gravel remembers her as "Wilma Pebble", and in the third season episode "Dial S for Suspicion", one of Wilma's old boyfriends, calls her "Wilma Pebble."
However, later episodes and spin-offs firmly state her maiden name is 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: "Unfortunately, it's just as simple as [Hanna-Barbera] not caring about the continuity."
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 Flintstone Kids, Wilma was voiced by Julie McWhirter Dees and Elizabeth Lyn Frasier at different points.
In the live-action film The Flintstones, Wilma was played by Elizabeth Perkins, although Vander Pyl made a cameo at Fred's surprise party (in the conga line behind Dino). In the prequel film The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, Wilma was played by Kristen Johnston.
In the first few episodes of the series, particularly the series' first episode, "The Flintstone Flyer," Wilma is portrayed as a domestically abusive and domineering wife, almost to the point of outright sadism, throwing a tantrum and physically assaulting her husband (or at least attempting to do so) upon discovering that he and Barney had fooled her and Betty so that they could go bowling instead of going to the opera, despite the fact that Fred had a bandaged head injury. This is also presumably the reason why Fred and Barney could not muster up the courage to simply tell their wives outright that the opera coincided with the bowling championship. Also, in the same episode, she and Betty are shown to be willing to assault their husbands violently in public without second thoughts, demonstrated when they bash Fred and Barney over the heads with their heavy handbags in the bowling alley, in front of other players. At the end of the episode, when Fred and Barney are forced to flee their violent wives on Barney's flying machine, Wilma and Betty wait patiently in the garden for Barney to tire, and even six hours later, they show no remorse for their actions and still look forward to hurting their husbands more when they land. In subsequent episodes, she is shown to get angry but never harms Fred seriously, often lecturing him or slapping him for his exceptionally bad behaviour. For example, in the twenty third episode of season 2, Wilma can be seen biting Fred's finger when he points at her.
While generally a foil to Fred's poor behavior, Wilma is not immune to it herself. She, usually along with Betty Rubble, will occasionally rack up large bills on a charge account or spend the family's money with reckless abandon. Wilma and Betty will also occasionally plot acts of revenge on their husbands for their oafishness.
She and Fred argue often because of Fred's behavior, and because Fred sometimes flirts with other women. In the 2001 TV movie The Flintstones: On the Rocks, the marriage is not working out and they consider a divorce, but they reconcile at the end.
In "Dammit Janet!", a news report mentions that Peter and Lois Griffin were being left in Cuba after their plane was hijacked. The artist’s rendering of an attractive redhead married to a fat man is of Wilma and Fred Flintstone.
Fred and Wilma see a marriage counselor/divorce lawyer named Mr. Stoneberg in "Peter's Daughter" for actions seen in the show's second version of end credits.