Futurama Fridays – S7E14 “Forty Percent Leadbelly”

Bender finally accomplishes his… fifth(?) lifelong dream.

SUMMARY

The Planet Express team is transferring the carbonite-frozen villain Dr. Brutaloff to prison when Bender (John DiMaggio) is distracted by the presence of Silicon Red (Phil LaMarr), the greatest Folk Singer in the universe. This allows Brutaloff to escape and stab Fry (Billy West) before freezing him into the same carbonite. Fry becomes extremely angry about this betrayal. Bender seeks advice on how to be a folk singer from Red before trying to take his guitar, but Red stops him. Bender just takes a picture of it and has a copy 3-D printed from his memory. Bender tries to play a song on an open mic night, but fails due to his complete lack of knowledge about the folksy life he wants to sing about. Bender resolves to go live a hard life on the railroad. Bender meets a robot named “Big Caboose” (West) who introduces him to the other railroad workers. Bender begins composing a ballad about the people surrounding him and begins to add new characters like himself as the Rambler and a Jezebel who leaves Big Caboose for him. Big Caboose then appears with a fiance named Jezebel who promptly cheats with Bender.

Silicon Red looks like a cousin of the Borax Kid.

Big Caboose, like in Bender’s song, finds out and starts trying to hunt down Bender. Fry and Leela (Katey Sagal) realize that events are unfolding like in Bender’s ballad just as Bender decides that Big Caboose should hit him with a train rather than shooting him in the song. It’s revealed that as Bender has this thought, the 3-D printer from his guitar prints out a train, which Big Caboose promptly arrives with. Bender flees to Fry, who rejects him for his earlier betrayal just like in the song, but when he heads to Leela’s apartment, Fry is there. It turns out Bender is even 3-D printing duplicates of people. They head to the lab with the printer, only for Bender to accidentally summon some giant octopodes (the third option for making octopus plural). Leela tells Bender he can write a way to save himself in the song, but when Bender refuses due to artistic integrity, Big Caboose arrives and flattens him. However, at his funeral, it’s revealed this was a duplicate Bender which had artistic integrity, something Bender would never have, designed to take his beating.

Big Caboose, ironically, doesn’t have one.

END SUMMARY

I think this is one of the funnier episodes of the final season. This makes at least the third episode which is focused on accomplishing one of Bender’s lifelong dreams, but this one quickly goes off of the rails and I appreciate that. It’s also one of the episodes that probably best calls into question a potential future of technology being misused. 3D printing was only really starting to take off when this episode aired, since commercial printing of metal parts became available. Because of that, people were speculating about the day when we would be able to cheaply create houses using giant printers or to eliminate many societal issues through easier proliferation of important goods. This episode takes that to the future conclusion that if you can truly print anything, then nothing is unique, not even people. 

We need to beware of the Technology Lab.

I also like how much this episode both pays tribute to and takes shots at folk music. Bender describes almost all folk music with the formula that one of the main characters is named “Big” something, that “Big” character had a bad-hearted woman that did them wrong, and that “somebody kills somebody, blah blah blah.” Amy even sings that last line just to drive home how easy it supposedly is to write one of these songs. While I don’t think that it is truly that easy to write a folk song, it’s a fun and loving ribbing of the genre.

And yes, this is the woman from all of those songs.

Overall, pretty decent episode.

FAVORITE JOKE

We go inside of Bender’s head and it’s pretty great to see the organization. Bender’s core drive is a single terabyte (which was a lot more impressive when this episode aired but still not too much). In that file, we see that Bender’s main personality takes up only 3 MB, 1.3 MB of which is a single image file of the guitar belonging to Silicon Red. However, his penguin personality, from “The BirdBot of Ice-Catraz” takes up 50 times more. Then we see his porn file, which is an exabyte, an amount of storage that currently would require a large building. One has to wonder when he even finds the time to watch that much.

I mostly posted this for the HUFFPOST watermark on a porn drive.

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 115: Naturama

NEXT – Episode 117: 2-D Blacktop

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