Thank you for purchasing CliffNotes: Wishbone - "Bark To The Future," an educational guide for those readers requiring assistance in understanding the fundamental plot points of H.G. Wells' science fiction novella The Time Machine, as depicted in the defunct 1990s PBS children's show Wishbone (ages 5-12).

Whether you use this guide for the classroom — perhaps for your "Talking Animal Narratives: 1995-1998" seminar, the bugbear of many design-your-own major undergraduates — or simply to supplement your library of Wishbone-related literature, as the publisher we guarantee a fivefold increase in your knowledge of Jack Russell Terriers wearing tiny jackets.

FORMAT NOTE: Most CliffNotes guides are bound as paperback books, but to accommodate the consumer, we have printed the text on an oversized, laminated placard, not unlike that of a diner menu.


"Bark To The Future" is the twenty-third episode of the first season of Wishbone. The eponymous character is a sentient dog who possesses a frightening knowledge of both the English language and human literature.

The viewer learns neither how Wishbone acquired his literacy nor if he rejected a secret canine canon — presumably one built of eons of woofs and arfs ferreted away on lush, illuminated manuscripts, perhaps by those alien dogs from 101 Dalmatians 2 — to do so. (For further information on this topic, please consult CliffNotes: Canineopolis, Or Dinotopia With Every Occurrence Of The Word "Dinosaur" Replaced With "Dog.")


For reasons unexplained, Wishbone is content to not use his biological vicissitude toward acts of violence against Homo sapiens. Wishbone is also never seen engaging in graphic sexual intercourse. Should you encounter a test question purporting such, your instructor is trying to hoodwink you.

"Bark To The Future" (Parts 2, 3) follows the familiar Wishbone episode structure. That is, over a span of thirty minutes, Wishbone draws parallels between watershed moments in the history of human fiction and the banal goings-on of the Talbot family, his suburban captors. Wishbone's scholarly prowess is matched by Ellen: a reference librarian by day, the Talbot matriarch also by day. The industry term for these are "character traits."

(One can infer that Ellen and Wishbone once competed for household dominance through some form of Reading Olympiad, perhaps presided over by LeVar Burton, with Ellen decisively pouncing upon Wishbone's momentary frailty and winning. Perhaps if Wishbone hadn't faltered in his knowledge of Flaubert, would it be Ellen drinking out of the water bowl? One can only imagine his regime.)

In "Bark To The Future," insecure child protagonist Joe — the type of student who hands in book reports on the Where's Waldo series, as you yourself may have done at some juncture in your academic travels — finds himself unable to complete basic percentages without the aid of a calculator.

Wishbone links Joe's species-embarrassing shortcomings to the evolutionary complacency technology has wrought in the year 802,701 A.D., when humans have evolved into two races: a race of bipedal shepherd's pies known as the Eloi and a race of homeless skunk apes called the Morlocks. Using the Morlock costumes from "Bark To The Future," here is a synopsis of the overarching themes presented by Wells in The Time Machine.