Futurama Fridays – S7E22 “Leela and the Genestalk”

Leela’s going through changes and Fry is determined to help her.

SUMMARY

Leela (Katey Sagal) discovers that she is breaking out in suction cups. It turns out that her mutation is accelerating through a process called squidification, meaning that she will soon be transformed into a mass of tentacles. There is no cure for the condition, but there is a surgery which can prolong the tentacles for a few months. To pay for the surgery, Fry (Billy West) is sent to sell “Bessie,” the Planet Express ship. However, Fry meets a con artist who trades the ship for some “magic” beans. When Fry returns, the Professor (West) is so angry he knocks the beans out of the window. Naturally, they grow into a colossal beanstalk. Leela, who was going to run away, instead climbs the beanstalk and finds a castle filled with strange creatures before being captured by Mom (Tress MacNeille). It turns out the castle is a genetic engineering facility where Mom creates beanstalks that ostensibly can feed the poor. Leela is imprisoned.

Let’s be fair, if you saw this, you’d climb it too.

After a few weeks, Fry and Bender (John DiMaggio) are hit by Leela’s falling boots and fly up to Mom’s castle to find Leela. Unfortunately, Leela has now been transformed into a mass of tentacles. While trying to escape, the trio encounter a giant bound to an operating table. Leela frees the captive, only to be chased by him until they escape down the giant’s sink. Leela confronts Mom and unsuccessfully tries to destroy the facility before the three escape. Later, Mom thanks Leela for “lending” her DNA. The giant is revealed to be cured of his gigantism thanks to Mom and that Leela’s DNA have made the beanstalks perfect. Leela protests the genetic modification until Mom offers to cure her, which she immediately accepts.

Genetic Engineers don’t usually live in castles.

END SUMMARY

This episode is yet another entry into the “we’re building up to the finale” series, but this one was actually created to answer an animator error. In the second season of Futurama, when you see Leela’s mom Munda, she has normal human arms. In the second season, Munda has tentacles. This episode seems to have been created just because people kept pointing out this error to the showrunners and they wanted to say “see, we had a point the whole time!” In any case, this episode does a decent job exploring Leela’s feelings towards her history, a thing that has been a big part of her story arc and finally helps her move past it so that she’s ready to find something new in her life in the finale. 

Kinda ridiculous, since almost no one even saw them in that first episode.

The other thing this episode does really well is the Momsanto corporation. There are strange creations everywhere, representing the nightmarish fears that people have of genetic engineering. In this show, Leela represents the cautious party who thinks that toying with nature is inherently a bad idea. However, like many of those people in real life, that caution is eliminated the moment that genetic engineering provides them with a cure to their own problems (you know, like how it has fed billions of people or cured various diseases). It’s not that Leela’s wrong to encourage caution about genetic research, she’s absolutely right to do it, but even evil companies like Monsanto (sorry, MOMsanto) do occasionally provide benefits to all mankind. They’re still evil, to be sure, but the people who are able to be fed probably don’t see it that way.

Line dancing survives another millennium. Why.

Overall, solid episode. Can’t believe we’re so close to the end. 

FAVORITE JOKE

Okay, this is a legit tie. First: While climbing the building into Monsanto using Leela’s “hair” tentacles, Fry and Bender pass a window that has Adam West and Burt Ward in it. Adam West is a man-bat and Ward is a robot with Robin’s coloring. The entire scene is a reference to the times that Batman and Robin would interact with celebrities while climbing up buildings. They even have Ward say “Holy Rapunzel, Man-bat!” and call Fry and Bender a duo, though not a dynamic one. Just such a great cameo. 

Well, back to horrible experiments, old chum.

However, that cameo is matched by the fact that the pair later find Finn and Jake from Adventure Time chained to the wall of Momsanto’s dungeon. It’s a short scene and the only interaction is Jake asking “What time is it?” right before Bender says “Time for you to shut up!” The joke here is more about the fact that John DiMaggio voices both characters in a fairly similar way, leading people to compare the two, personality-wise. 

This is canon to Adventure Time… in my head.

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 123: Assie Come Home

NEXT – Episode 125: Game of Tones

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2 thoughts on “Futurama Fridays – S7E22 “Leela and the Genestalk””

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