The second season finale features a blast from the past and Sarah Silverman sleeping with Pauly Shore.
Leela (Katey Sagal) leaves the keys in the ignition of the Planet Express ship, leading Fry and Bender (Billy West and John DiMaggio) to take the ship joyriding. Unfortunately, the ship is tethered to the building, resulting in massive damage. The Professor (West) fires the three of them. Leela reveals that she still has her and Fry’s career chips from the Pilot, while Bender has a random arm belonging to the Prime Minister of Norway. Unfortunately, Leela puts Fry’s chip in her arm and vice-versa, so he takes over her old job as a cryogenic counselor. Fry unfreezes many people, including Pauly Shore, before unfreezing his old girlfriend, Michelle (Sarah Silverman).
Michelle tells Fry that her freezing has nothing to do with Fry; she got married, divorced, and then depressed, so she froze herself. They start dating again, but Michelle doesn’t fit in well in the future. Michelle convinces Fry to freeze the two of them so that they can try again in the year 4000. He agrees, but they wake up in a post-apocalyptic landscape.
Fry is angry at Michelle for convincing him to leave his friends, while Michelle is dissatisfied with Fry’s survival skills. They later are taken prisoner by barbarian children. Fry challenges the leader of the tribe of children to a race and wins, but it’s revealed that the kids are just playing while waiting for their parents. Fry finally dumps Michelle, but soon finds Leela and Bender. It turns out that he was actually just in Los Angeles, having been frozen for just two days. Michelle ends up dating Pauly Shore and Fry doesn’t get his job back until the next episode.
Well, this is one of the episodes that expands on Fry’s backstory, in this case specifically on the one woman willing to date Fry in the past. Unfortunately for Fry, Michelle is terrible. She’s abusive, she’s manipulative, and she’s disloyal. While Fry is, admittedly, an idiot, he is at his core a decent person who wishes to help his friends. Unbelievably, it turns out he deserves better than Michelle.
This episode also explores one of the things that makes Fry such an interesting protagonist: He’s a man out of time who is definitely in the right time. Fry may not have been raised to be a citizen of the 30th century, but he thrives there. There’s a line from Sin City about the character Marv, which says he’s not crazy, he just “had the rotten luck of being born at the wrong time in history. He’d have been okay if he’d been born a couple of thousand years ago. He’d be right at home on some ancient battlefield, swinging an ax into somebody’s face. Or in a Roman Arena, taking a sword to other gladiators like him.” Fry’s the same way, except that he’s a loser who happened to end up in a time where even losers get to go on crazy space adventures. Everyone who isn’t the kind of slacker that Fry is would consider everything that he does mundane and try to avoid excitement, but Fry thinks it’s all amazing.
I will never figure out why Pauly Shore’s in this. This was the year 2000. His career had officially been on hold for 4 years at this point. The previous year he was in Casper Meets Wendy, the Avengers of strange children’s cartoon live-action adaptations. It’s just such a random cameo. His role in the episode is even weirder, with him basically being a more mature, intelligent, and impressive version of the “Weasel” character that he used to adopt during his stand-up act, saying something extremely well-thought-out, but following it up with “BUD-DY.” Just so odd…
I really think the third act is one of the funnier and more random twists the show put forth: That L.A. is a giant wasteland. Fry points out all of the post-apocalyptic elements, only for Bender to tell him that yes, all of those are signs of being in Los Angeles. I also love that, if you spoke Hebrew, you would have noticed that the girlfriend of the leader of the kids counted to three in the language in order to start the Death Rolling race, which pays off later when it turns out that the kids are going to Hebrew School.
I think it’s hilarious that Fry and Bender basically decide to use Fry’s position as a post-cryogenic freezing counselor to prank people. Bender’s prank on the old man where he dresses up as a giant fly to scare him, then pretends to be a killer robot, then a killer gorilla, is particularly funny. When the old man has a heart attack, Bender just re-freezes him to wait until they have a cure for that, which apparently they already do. Rather than use that as a point to stop torturing him, Bender instead takes this as permission to perpetually horrify him, to the point that later, Fry finds him just saying “Flies and Gorillas.” I fully acknowledge this is sick and twisted, but I still think this is a great use of cryogenics.
Well, that’s it for this week.
See you next week, meatbags.
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