Futurama becomes 2-D… er.
The Professor (Billy West) finishes supercharging the Planet Express ship, now called “Bessie,” but Leela (Katey Sagal) complains that safety is more important than speed. When the crew tries to leave, the ship malfunctions and crashes. After Leela has the ship taken to the junkyard, Farnsworth goes and rebuilds it using scrap. As he flies it home, he is accosted by a gang of racers, resulting in the Professor agreeing to a race. The Professor reveals that he’s heavily modified the ship and wins the race using a dimensional drift. The Professor joins the racers’ crew. Meanwhile, Leela orders a very boring and beige box spaceship which is incredibly safe. On its maiden voyage, the ship delivers the package for them, leaving Fry and Bender (West and John DiMaggio) sad at the lack of adventure. As she becomes increasingly boring, the Professor, now a street racer, mocks her. She challenges him to a race on the Mobius Dragstrip. During the course of the race, the two ships collide while the Professor is doing a dimensional drift and flatten.
Everyone assumes that Fry, Leela, and the Professor are dead, but it turns out they were just compressed into two dimensions. It also turns out that Bender was on the ship so that he can be there for this. The group experiments with their new 2-D life before meeting the locals, the lords of flatbush. At a feast, Farnsworth tries to explain 3-D to the 2-D king, leading to the crew being declared heretics. Leela suggests they try to use the dimensional drift to get back to 3-D. Just as the ship starts to be destroyed at the scrapyard, the Professor pulls it off and the crew return to normal.
This episode manages to do two great parodies in one. In the first half, the Professor’s racing crew is an over-the-top version of every ‘80s and ‘90s movie about teen drag racers. It’s deliberately multicultural and the names are as ridiculous as you’d expect: Minx, Bazzo, Jibby, and Benniton. Minx is the most notable, having a tragic backstory of verbal abuse from her father, only for it to be revealed that it was what her father “left unsaid.” It’s a shot at how common it was to explain that female members of gangs in those movies came from broken homes.
The second half is a parody of the 1884 book Flatland by Edwin Abbott Abbott (yes, real name). It’s a story about a world populated by geometric shapes featuring a square that interacts with one dimensional points that can’t comprehend him and then a three-dimensional sphere that the square can’t comprehend. The show takes most of the ideas behind living on a two-dimensional plane and shows how insane they would be in “reality.” It also makes some fun sight gags, like having Fry try to eat a fraction of a picture of a pile of fruit, or having Farnsworth refer to the audience as seeing things from the Z-axis.
Overall, pretty decent episode. I especially like that they name the ship “Bessie” here so that they can make a joke in a few episodes.
The Mobius Dragstrip. It’s a giant mobius strip, meaning that it is a single surface that has only one side and one boundary curve. The show makes sure to drive this home by having one of the gang members point out that technically driving through both sides of the flat surface, something that would appear to be two laps, is only one lap. This results in one of my favorite lines “You kids and your topology.” I may be biased because I studied topology.
See you next week, meatbags.
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