Amy finds out that getting her Doctorate is more life threatening than she thought.
Amy Wong (Lauren Tom) is preparing her doctoral thesis at Mars University. The Professor (Billy West) tells her that she should actually have gotten her doctorate years ago, he just forgot. Despite that, she is still nervous, so the crew take her out drinking. She oversleeps and arrives late, forgetting to put on clothes. She tries to describe her thesis, which is to create energy using the Earth’s rotation, but is repeatedly denigrated by Professor Katz (Maurice LaMarche) and ultimately fails. Back on Earth, Professor Katz’s pet cat has stowed away on the ship. It is quickly loved by the crew, much to the annoyance of Amy, who is allergic, and Nibbler (Frank Welker), who recently told Leela (Katey Sagal) he wanted to be treated less as a pet and now misses the attention. They decide they might be overthinking, only for the cat to reveal it has hypnotized the crew.
The cat summons other cats from a planet of cats, and soon the crew starts to conduct secret plans away from Amy and Nibbler. They head to Mars University to investigate Professor Katz, only to find out that the cat was actually Katz, operating a human as a puppet. They return to Earth and find out that the cats have implemented Amy’s doctoral thesis and have captured the Earth’s rotational energy. They are confronted by Katz the cat, who explains that all cats have come from planet Thuban 9, which was originally slowing down due to loss of rotational energy. They came to Earth and built a giant antenna (the Great Pyramid of Giza) to siphon off some of Earth’s energy, but then became domesticated and forgot how to engineer. Amy is furious that Katz failed her and then stole her idea, but he responds “Welcome to Academia.” The mechanism is then activated, and Earth stops rotating in order to start Thuban.
The cats depart and the Planet Express crew return to normal. They determine that they can’t move the Earth’s rotational energy back. As half of the Earth starts to burn and the other to freeze, Amy realizes there is a solution: She just increases the rotation in the other direction. Earth rotates backwards, Thuban stops, and the day is saved. Amy graduates, only to be told that the job market is “rough.”
I admit that I don’t think too much of this episode, but it’s not really that bad either when I rewatch it. The premise is weird, even for Futurama, and doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense, even for Futurama. The idea of Amy being a doctoral candidate has not really been touched on much before now, particularly given that she routinely is shown to not be studying. Since she’d been a student at Mars University since the show began, it was kind of impossible for that not to be the case, though. Still, it feels unusual to have Amy being a Ph.D., perhaps even moreso because she’s an engineering student… which is not typically something that requires a doctorate to begin with (although I have friends who have them). Usually the point of an engineering degree is that you can just get work with the Bachelor’s Degree.
This is really just a traditional off-the-wall Futurama episode. It’s not got much emotional appeal, but it has more gags and one-liners than many other episodes. It’s also nice to give Amy some more character development that doesn’t revolve around her relationships. Additionally, Nibbler gets to be a deuteragonist in an episode that isn’t about Fry being chosen or the flying brains. It gives us a little bit of the stuff we don’t get as often, and I appreciate that.
Honestly, its everything related to Professor Shpeekenshpell. The idea of a sophisticated robot who runs on a Speak’n’Spell is funny enough, but they manage to use it perfectly. The first thing he says is that the cow says moo, something that apparently he proved once and then coasted on forever. The second time, it’s to say Bah at Amy using a sheep. The third time, when all of the people are voting Nay, he selects a horse and then subverts it with:
“The Horse says: Doctorate Denied.”
The last time is a final appearance to tell Amy that the job market, is, as the dog says, “Ruff.”
Honestly, I just love that they made 4 solid jokes off of this premise.
See you next week, meatbags.
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