Futurama Fridays – S7E16 “T.: The Terrestrial”

Fry gets left on an alien world. A parody ensues.

SUMMARY

Lrrr, ruler of the planet Omicron Persei 8, (Maurice LaMarche) is trying help his son, Jrrr (Lauren Tom), take over Earth in order to get a merit badge. Unfortunately, Jrrr is so meek that Nixon (Billy West) doesn’t take him seriously. At Lrrr’s insistence, Jrrr responds by accidentally killing the Headless clone of Agnew. Nixon places an embargo on Omicron Persei 8 in response. The Professor (West) reveals that he’s now in horrible pain because the “herbal supplement” that he uses for pain management is exclusive to Omicron Persei 8. Hermes (Phil LaMarr) orders the crew to fly to collect it, due to his love of Omicronic. While on the planet, Fry (west) and Bender (John DiMaggio) get separated and the crew gets evacuated. Bender abandons Fry and tells Leela (Katey Sagal) that Fry is on board, so Fry is left on the planet. He soon encounters Jrrr and frightens him, but the two soon bond. Fry, however, gets homesick.

For the record, that’s a good name for a pot brand.

Bender has to continue to construct elaborate lies to cover for his cowardice, but ends up making everyone assume that Fry is working harder than ever before. Bender begins to miss Fry, thinking him dead, but continues the ruse in progressively more elaborate ways. However, he eventually sees an S.O.S. that Fry and Jrrr have built on the planet. Lrrr catches Fry and has him imprisoned to be killed. Lrrr also comments that Fry is looking sick, which is because Fry has been eating Jrrr’s feces, thinking they were candy. Jrrr and Fry escape and flee on a flying love-powered bicycle, but when they get fry to a doctor, Drrr, he recommends killing Fry. Lrrr confronts Jrrr, but Jrrr stands up to him and earns his respect… only for Fry to die. Bender arrives and the Omicronic that Fry had consumed glows from Bender’s electromagnetism and his love for Fry. Fry revives and is taken home, only to find out that he is now more respected and loved than ever because of Bender’s ruse.

If the Vet is named Drrr, what’s the Doctor named?

END SUMMARY

This episode never quite hits as hard as it should for me. It’s got some funny moments, to be sure, but many of the E.T. parodies are just not quite what they should be. I think part of it is that they literally turned the iconic Reese’s Pieces scene into a poop joke and then didn’t just leave it. The joke wasn’t funny, but if we’d just left it alone, then it would just be a missed opportunity. Instead, the episode’s plot actually depends on the idea that Fry would be unable to stop eating Jrrr’s crap. Knowingly. It’s just doubling down on crap, literally.

Also, did they get rid of Ndnd just so this episode is single-parent like E.T.?

I will admit that the subplot about Bender pretending to be Fry actually works better than it should. When Bender is forced to use the single recording of Fry’s voice in clever ways in order to maintain the ruse, it usually produces a laugh. I also find it amusing that after the number of atrocities that Lrrr has committed on Earth in past episodes, including taking over multiple times, that the only thing that creates an embargo between the planets is the killing of the body of Spiro Agnew. It’s not even the last clone, either, and presumably they could just make more. I mean, how much could it take to grow Spiro Agnew? 

Looks like about 180 lbs.

Overall, it’s not a great episode, but it’s got its moments, at least.

FAVORITE JOKE

When Fry mentions that he is homesick, Jrrr takes him to a collection of extremely high-tech communications devices in order to let him “phone home,” a la E.T. However, Fry instead turns them into an S.O.S. message by pulling them into place. The key is that this actually ends up working, because Bender sees it, while all signals from Omicron are blocked by Earth. It’s a great gag because it’s the dumb thing that’s secretly brilliant.

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 117: 2-D Blacktop

NEXT – Episode 119: Fry and Leela’s Big Fling

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Futurama Fridays – S7E15 “2-D Blacktop”

Futurama becomes 2-D… er.

SUMMARY

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.

I love this joke.

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.

The lords of Flatbush are not particularly well-drawn.

END SUMMARY

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. 

Welcome to the future where gangs are very ’90s.

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. 

The ship got some modifications, then flattened.

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.

This episode also gave us Pimparoo, the best sight gag ever.

FAVORITE JOKE

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.

Dear F-Zero: THIS.

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 116: Forty Percent Leadbelly

NEXT – Episode 118: T.: The Terrestrial

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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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Futurama Fridays – S7E12 “Viva Mars Vegas”

It involves a Casino theft, like that movie about the Ocean.

SUMMARY

The Robot Mafia is escaping from a recent theft and dumps the loot into a dumpster. As the Planet Express crew plans to go to Mars Vegas casino, Amy (Lauren Tom) tells Zoidberg (Billy West) that he shouldn’t go because of his poor money management skills. He finds the loot and heads to the casino himself. He places a few bets and wins, only to lose everything by refusing to walk away. When he returns to the dumpster, however, the Robot Mafia wants the money. After using his ink defense, Zoidberg escapes inside, only to be hit with the Professor’s (West) ink remover, which makes ink invisible. Zoidberg, who is completely covered and saturated with ink, becomes undetectable by the eye. The Mafia can’t find him, which leads them to decide to take over the Wong family casino as well as all of the Wongs’ other properties. Amy devises a plan to get the money back with a heist.

I don’t think that’s supposed to be Olympus Mons, but it’s big.

Using a shrimp cart to cover Zoidberg’s smell, they get Zoidberg into the vault where he eats all of the money and a black box. Once he consumes the objects, they also become invisible. However, he becomes too sick to move, so the crew have to carry him. They try to escape to the roof, but Zoidberg causes the elevator to fall to the ground floor. They almost make it to the exit until a blind guard stops them. Amy offers him a deal, which the native Martian is skeptical of due to the Wong family’s prior actions. Amy reveals that the Wongs only bought Mars for 100 years, and that the planet is now reverting back to the native Martians. The native Martians kick out the mafia and, out of gratitude, give the Wongs back their mansion and another casino. 

Hermes and Bender basically do a Trading Places bit.

END SUMMARY

It has bothered me every time I watch this that Mars is back to normal. In “A Farewell to Arms,” Mars gets blown out of its orbit and the native Martians all leave the planet. While Futurama doesn’t really have a strong continuity, that was a really big thing to just undo without any kind of reference to it. We also have completely obliterated any continuity on who owns what part of Mars and how. Originally the native Martians were pissed at the Wongs for cheating them, only for it to be revealed that Wong paid a fair price for it and they left the planet. Then they were back, but were just grabbing their stuff because they knew Mars was doomed. Now they’re back again only to reveal that they work for the Wongs and live on reservations above ground? Even for a show with loose continuity, this gets a little too much.

I also love the fact that the sci-fi magic element is a tattoo removing laser.

The heist element is done pretty well, mostly because it keeps pointing out heist tropes, particularly ones that make no sense. The best line may be when Amy is asked if people will smell Zoidberg, only for her to respond: “No, and to keep you on your toes, I’ll only explain why after the heist begins.” That’s a perfect shot at so many heist movies where members of the heist are intentionally misled about what is going to happen, usually for no good reason. It’s a trope that honestly will never make any logical sense and is a sign of a weak screenplay. If you want a good movie that averts it, watch Rififi. I appreciate them taking shots at the formulaic nature of heists, even if they seem to do it with kid gloves compared to other shows (like Rick and Morty).

Although no movie has used a smelly shrimp cart yet.

Overall, not a bad episode, but not the best either.

FAVORITE JOKE

Honestly, it’s the song from the episode. The style is almost a perfect cover for the original song “Big Spender” from Sweet Charity, and the lyrics are a perfect adaptation to Zoidberg. It contains a decent amount of potential euphemism, it matches the Vegas setting, and it just works for me. Here’s a clip:

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 113: 31st Century Fox

NEXT – Episode 115: Naturama

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Futurama Fridays – S7E11 “31st Century Fox”

Bender gives hunting a shot. GET IT????

SUMMARY

Fry (Billy West), Bender (John DiMaggio), Leela (Katey Sagal), Amy (Lauren Tom), and Zoidberg (West) get their uniforms destroyed by a giant Moth. When they complain to the Professor (West) about getting new uniforms, he rebuffs them until the moth appears and destroys his outfit as well. The crew go to a discount uniform store and buy the outfits that the Professor had failed to pay for a year ago, but Bender also buys a 20th Century fox hunting outfit and decides to take up the sport. Angered by the notion, Leela objects, but Bender invites the crew to a fox hunt. During the hunt, Leela tries to disrupt the Huntmaster (Patrick Stewart), only to be repeatedly thwarted. She stops protesting, however, when it’s revealed that the fox is a robot, and thus no animals are being harmed. This leads Bender to switch sides and revolt against the fox hunt. 

I disagree with giving this little thing the “-zilla” name.

Bender forms an animal robot rights group called Bender’s Animal Robot Front and starts committing minor acts of theft and vandalism. They don’t quite work out, but Bender declares victory and sets out to save the robot fox. The crew gets the fox away but Bender stays behind to mock the hunters. This, naturally, leads them to hunt him. At the same time, the fox starts to drive the crew insane with its destructive behavior. The fox ends up running back to the hunting grounds and, together with the fox, Bender turns the tables on the Huntmaster and traps him. The Huntmaster tries to kill him, but the fox attacks the Huntmaster and reveals him to be a robot. Ultimately, everyone decides that the irony was so heavy that they just kill and mount the Huntmaster.

END SUMMARY

I never think about this episode when I look back on Futurama and that’s probably not a great sign. Honestly, if it weren’t for Patrick Stewart voicing the antagonist, I would probably have forgotten it altogether. There are a few fun lines in it, but it mostly just kind of chugs along until it finally resolves with a weird conclusion that everything that just happened was stupid. I mean, it doesn’t have a real B-plot, and the A-plot’s big payoff is that everyone is a hypocrite and that no one can really tell what is or is not a robot, but that’s not really explored in a satisfying way. It’s not that you can’t just have a simple episode, but it’s also just not that funny. It’s like they figured they would insert the jokes later and then forgot.

A horse named “Sea Gasket” was supposed to be a major laugh.

It’s interesting that this was the first episode where they swapped the order in this season, moving it to air later so that they could advertise the voice cameo of Patrick Stewart for the finale. Then, apparently, they just didn’t do that. Maybe the marketing people watched it and said “let’s not call too much attention to this episode.” I don’t want to say that it’s bad, but it’s pretty low on my list of Futurama. Aside from the favorite joke, I will call attention to the fashion montage at the uniform place. We get a stillsuit from Dune (modified to be kosher), a Star Trek uniform, Stormtrooper armor, the outfit from Barbarella, and the space plane uniform from 2001: A Space Odyssey, culminating in Farnsworth in the famous outfit from Zardoz. It’s pretty funny.

R.I.P. Sean Connery.

Overall, though, just not a mind-blowing episode. 

FAVORITE JOKE

In the episode, in an attempt to confuse the robot hunting dogs that are chasing him, Bender pulls out a bag of Newmar’s Own Catnip. This is a reference both to Newman’s Own, the brand owned by actor Paul Newman, and to Julie Newmar, the actress who played Catwoman on the Adam West/Burt Ward Batman series. However, when Bender uses it, it instead causes a huge number of cats to jump on him. It’s made even funnier because Bender uses it after saying “I know what’ll confuse these dogs! Catnip!” Just a solid joke.

Eartha Kitt’s version was banned by the Johnson Administration. She knows why.

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 112: Near Death Wish

NEXT – Episode 114: Viva Mars Vegas

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If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JokerOnTheSofa/), follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.

Futurama Fridays – S7E10 “Near-Death Wish”

It’s Season 7, time for a retirement home!

SUMMARY

Fry (Billy West) wins the Delivery Boy of the Year Award and is angry when the Professor (West) doesn’t care. The crew realize that the Professor’s parents, Ned and Velma (David Herman and Estelle Harris) are still alive at the Near-Death Star, the place where all old people go to die. It turns out that the old people are kept in a Matrix-like Virtual Reality, and Fry, Leela, and Bender (Katey Sagal and John DiMaggio) meet them in a virtual retirement community. Fry enjoys spending time with them, but ends up deciding to take them with him. On Earth, the Professor is angry at the pair and refuses to talk to them as they interact with Fry. It turns out that when he was young, they never played with him or paid attention to his science. They even moved to a farm and limited his ability to study science until he ran away. 

Apparently “Trop Vieux” means “too old”

When finally confronted, Ned and Velma explain that they moved to a farm because they were worried that they would lose the Professor like his older brother. They explain that he was a scientist and a nutjob who they ended up having to commit to an institution. Unfortunately, it turns out that they are talking about the Professor. They thought he was their second son, Floyd, who the Professor had never met (and who may have come by years earlier only to be kicked out by Bender). Ned and Velma go back to the Near-Death Star, but the Professor joins them to play in Virtual Reality. 

Combined age is like 600 years old.

END SUMMARY

This is a pretty middle-of-the-road episode of Futurama, but that’s still pretty entertaining. It fleshes out the Professor’s backstory, something that, due to his excessive age, has had a lot of parts to it, but we’ve never gone back this far. It’s both funny and sweet that his parents reveal how much they had done for him while thinking that he was their other son. I’ll admit the reveal that the newly-discovered brother, Floyd, is probably dead somewhere was pretty dark, the fact that no one seems to care saves it. Also, they do a great job of making the Professor’s parents mirror his mannerisms in a way that make it seem like they’re family.

And therefore a little bit like Fry.

The best part of the episode is the shots they take at The Matrix. The crew, when going into the Near-Death Star, pull apart the central premise of the film, that robots use people as a power source, by saying that it actually works, despite the logical flaws. It’s one of the more biting shots at other science-fiction works in the show’s run and I can only assume it came about because someone really couldn’t look past the stupidity of the “human batteries” premise and enjoy the gun fights. 

I want the Potato Matrix – The Tatrix.

Overall, like I said, it’s not a top-tier episode, but it’s not the bottom of the barrel either.

FAVORITE JOKE

As much as I love the shots the show takes at The Matrix, my favorite joke is still when chasing after the Professor as he heads back to the family farm where Bender shouts “Faster! Faster! Okay, Stop Short!” which leads to Fry being shot forward from Ned’s scooter. The reason why this works is because earlier we see Ned and Velma on parallel scooters. Velma is voiced by Estelle Harris, who played George’s mother on Seinfeld. During one episode, Estelle reveals that her husband, Frank, has a move called the “stop short,” which is when you slam on the breaks so you can reach your hand out to stop the other person from flying forward and potentially feel them up. This episode subverts it by revealing that now Velma is nowhere near them and instead Fry is the one who goes flying.  Still, it’s a neat reference. 

It’s Jerry Stiller’s “Move”

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 111: Free-Will Hunting

NEXT – Episode 113: 31st Century Fox

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JokerOnTheSofa/), follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.

Futurama Fridays – S7E9 “Free Will Hunting”

Bender tackles the eternal question and the answer is “find better engineers.”

SUMMARY

Bender (John DiMaggio) starts his day by deciding to wear nerd glasses. This leads him to get invited to a sorority party, which leads him to enroll in college, which leads to him getting student loans from the mafia. He then drops out of school, gets addicted to drugs, and vomits on the Hendonismbot (Maurice LaMarche) for money. Eventually, he’s arrested and put on trial, but his lawyer successfully argues that Bender, as a robot, lacks free will and therefore cannot make any decisions, negating mens rea. Bender is despondent over the revelation that he might not have free will, and, during a delivery to the robot home world, stays on the planet to try and figure out if he has free will. Eventually, he finds a robot temple where the robot monks have adopted a position that, while they are automatons, they can still be happy. Bender stays with the monks until he discovers that he has a “free will” slot created by Mom (Tress MacNeille) so that they could get free will upgrades. 

It was a very long day.

Fry (Billy West) misses Bender and complains to Leela (Katey Sagal), with whom he is once again romantically involved. Bender returns and convinces the pair to help him steal the free will unit prototype, reasoning that he does not have free will to commit the crime. They successfully get in, only to have Mom explain that she never had the prototype because the Professor (West) never finished it. Bender realizes that the Professor clearly did complete it and threatens him into giving it. However, the Professor reveals that Bender can’t hurt him, because the Professor programmed all MomCorp robots not to harm him. Seeing Bender sad, the Professor installs the free will unit in his head, which leads Bender to shoot the Professor in order to test it out. Bender is prosecuted successfully for the crime, much to his delight.

END SUMMARY

I think this is one of my favorite episodes of this show because it addresses a huge existential problem, whether free will exists, and manages to couch it in a funny parable by applying it to Bender rather than one of the other characters. As Amy (Lauren Tom) points out, no one is positive that humans even have free will, or if we’re just extremely convoluted mechanisms following intricate programming. Bender, naturally, just moves past that, but it does at least remind the viewer that everything Bender worries about in this episode has been contemplated by philosophers throughout the ages. As in the episode, some people get depressed over the unknowability of the answer, some are too busy to care, and some turn to religion or philosophy in order to be happy without knowing. Ultimately, though, this episode actually proposes that eventually science will be able to just tell us the answer or possibly even give us free will using Quantum Theory. It’s a very Futurama resolution.

Some of the better elements of this episode are the way that it highlights or even exaggerates many of Bender’s more human traits despite focusing on how he believes himself to be different than humans. Throughout the entire episode he’s prone to whimsy, then stuck in a need for self-discovery, and finally convinces the Professor not through logic, but through triggering his emotional empathy. Bender is at his least robotic during this episode and it works perfectly.

He suffers a lot from peer pressure, too.

Overall, just a great episode of Futurama. 

FAVORITE JOKE

Pretty much everything about the Robot Monastery. First off, the idea that robots, who confirm that they have no free will and thus should operate perfectly logically, end up using religion as a way to resolve their existential crisis is inherently hilarious. Second, they read from “The Whole eBook,” rather than the Holy Book, which is a nice robot religion joke. Third, most of what the monks preach is based not on actual religious theory, but instead on the absurdist philosophy of Albert Camus, reinforced by the image of the monks working in an M.C. Escher setting. Last, the head abbot is named Ab-Bot, and that’s just fun.

It’s just fun.

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 110: Fun on a Bun

NEXT – Episode 112: Near-Death Wish

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JokerOnTheSofa/), follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.

Futurama Fridays – S7E8 “Fun on a Bun”

Fry finds his intellectual equals and Leela finds the sunshine of her spotless mind.

SUMMARY

The Professor (Billy West) takes the crew to Oktoberfest in Germany. Fry is excited, but finds out that over the centuries Oktoberfest has become a high-society event which doesn’t allow for drunkenness or debauchery. Fry protests by getting drunk and doing the chicken dance. Leela (Katey Sagal) is so embarrassed that she breaks up with Fry (again). Meanwhile, Bender (John DiMaggio) sees a sausage-making contest and decides to enter, only to find out that everyone uses special ingredients for their meat. The two watch a video explaining that the valley they’re near, the Neander valley, used to contain mammoths. Bender and Fry use the ship to find a mammoth, but as Bender is grinding it up, Fry seemingly falls in and is turned into sausage. Bender doesn’t notice and ends up serving the sausage, leading Leela to eat a sausage dog which appears to contain Fry. Leela is so traumatized that she has her memories of Fry erased. 

Fry’s drumsticks don’t go well with Mammoth.

Fry actually survived the machine, after it took off his clothes and some hair, but fell into the mammoth hole and hit his head causing it to swell. Fry is rescued by neanderthals who live under the ice sheet. Seeing his swollen forehead, they believe Fry to be a fellow caveman and his wound causes memory loss so he quickly agrees with it. Fry leads the neanderthals to attack Oktoberfest in order to take back the surface world. During the attack, the neanderthals end up doing well despite their lack of technology, because Zapp Brannigan (West) is an idiot. Fry and Leela end up fighting but stop when they recognize each other. They kiss, ending the war, and the neanderthals join Oktoberfest and bring back some of the old ways.

END SUMMARY

I actually think this was a well-done episode. It manages to combine the traditional “head wound causes amnesia” plotline with the more futuristic “mind-wipe” plotlines that sci-fi has been bringing lately, most directly Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Much like in those tropes, some level of memory always exists and can be triggered by a strong enough emotion. The show drives the comparison home by having them simultaneously recover from their amnesia. It’s a very Futurama way to deconstruct sci-fi tropes back to their roots. 

And to show yet another Funeral for Fry.

The other thing about this episode is that it is one of the more fun episodes of the last season. Each of the characters’ arcs are solidly comedic, particularly Bender and his quest to be the greatest sausage maker of all time. Bender does actually put forth more effort towards this goal than he usually does, but when he only gets third place (which he calls the greatest injustice that Germany has ever committed), he manages to ensure that his opponents are killed in the ensuing attack. Or at least that’s the story. Fry’s lines to the neanderthals are pretty solid, including his line “I do have vague memories of people refusing to breed with me” that he uses to confirm his neanderthal lineage. The idea of cavemen fighting with spacemen has often been floated, including a famous debate in the show Angel which literally named the “cavemen vs. astronauts” trope, but Futurama is one of the few shows where the key to the fight is that both sides are actually equally stupid. 

And the only one featuring chicken hats.

Overall, solid episode of Futurama.

FAVORITE JOKE

This is another three small joke episode.

1) When Hermes sees mammoths, he calls them “hairy elephantes,” which is both a fun description and also a joke on singer/songwriter Harry Belafonte. 

2) Later, Hermes is attacked by a giant sloth that takes forever to actually maul him. So long, in fact, that the battle pretty much ends by the time it gets there. Having Hermes, a normally serious character, participate in this only makes it that much funnier.

3) Everything about this exchange:

Zapp Brannigan: Up here in the clouds, our technology makes us invincible, like the mighty “x” in tic-tac-toe. Look at those pathetic cavemen down there, loading their silly catapult with…what is that, Kif?

Kif: I believe it’s a saber-tooth cat, sir.

Yes, it’s a Cat-apult.

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 109: The Six Million Dollar Mon

NEXT – Episode 111: Free Will Hunting

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JokerOnTheSofa/), follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.

Futurama Fridays – S7E7 “The Six Million Dollar Mon”

Hermes becomes a cyborg and apparently that’s addictive.

SUMMARY

Hermes (Phil LaMarr) conducts a performance review and determines that he is massively inefficient for the company. He fires himself and is replaced by a robot accountant, much to Zoidberg’s (Billy West) chagrin, as he believed he was Hermes’ best friend. Hermes and LaBarbara (Dawnn Lewis) go for a walk and are mugged by Roberto (David Herman), but are saved by Smitty and URL (West and John DiMaggio). Hermes observes URL’s robotic body and decides he could upgrade himself with robot parts, getting a harpoon put in his chest. He rehires himself at Planet Express, but soon starts to respond to any problem, no matter how minor, by getting a robotic upgrade. Despite LaBarbara telling him to stop getting more parts replaced, Hermes soon is completely made of automaton parts, aside from his hair and brain. Meanwhile, Zoidberg has collected the discarded parts of Hermes and has been using them in a ventriloquist act. 

Mark 7-G is actually Homer Simpson’s computer evolved over 1000 years. #Canon.

Hermes decides to get his brain replaced with a computer, but his back alley surgeon refuses. Hermes and Professor Farnsworth (West) dig up a dead robot brain, but it turns out it was Roberto’s. As Farnsworth is about to perform the brain transplant, LaBarbara arrives and tells Hermes she’ll divorce him if he goes through with it. Farnsworth refuses, but Hermes, now near emotionless, threatens the group until Zoidberg does the operation. However, he places the brain into the ventriloquist dummy, which brings it back to life as the normal Hermes, only for Roberto’s brain to take over Hermes’ robot body. Roberto tries to eat Hermes, only to have the heat of Hermes’ Jamaican food burn through his metal frame, melting him. Hermes ends up thanking Zoidberg, even though he still hates him.

END SUMMARY

The premise of this episode is pretty solid. Hermes, a person obsessed with efficiency, is a natural candidate for a cybernetic upgrade. It honestly boggles the mind why he hasn’t already gotten some kind of high-efficiency enhancement, or at least LASIK. Tying it into his feelings of inferiority make it somewhat more relatable, particularly since he needs it for his job at the beginning. However, they never lose the humorous bits by having many of the upgrades being wildly impractical, including the chest harpoon that starts the whole thing. The final reveal that the thing that saves the crew is Hermes’ body being impossibly spicy is both foreshadowed and just freaking hilarious.

MechaHermes cares not for goat. Or symmetry.

This episode does mark a notable increase in Roberto’s craziness, particularly since he moves to being much more blatantly homicidal and strangely obsessed with eating skin. I guess there’s a little bit of a precedent for this from when he threatened to turn Fry’s lungs into hamburger patties in another episode, but it still feels like a massive deviation from his usual crazy. It also seems ridiculous to me that Hermes would steal his brain for the surgery. While I could buy the Professor or Bender getting a robot brain without caring to look at the source, this is the new extremely obsessed Hermes. 

Genuinely creepy.

Overall, still a good episode, particularly for this season.

FAVORITE JOKE

Zoidberg self-harmonizing while singing a parody of “Monster Mash” while replacing Hermes’s brain with a robot CPU. Even writing that sentence is amazing. It’s insane enough that Zoidberg apparently does medicine correctly, for once, but that he does it to a musical number and harmonizes with his own ventriloquist dummy just elevates it to another level of funny. Even Amy has to call out the fact that it’s ridiculous. 

He was actually pretty impressive.

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 108: The Butterjunk Effect

NEXT – Episode 110: Fun on a Bun

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JokerOnTheSofa/), follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.

Futurama Fridays – S7E6 “The Butterjunk Effect”

Leela and Amy take the world of competitive floating by storm. 

SUMMARY

Fry and Leela (Billy West and Katey Sagal) are on a double date with Amy and Kif (Lauren Tom and Maurice LaMarche) where the ladies keep making catty comments to each other. Later, on a delivery, they attend a Butterfly Derby, a sporting event where women fight each other while floating using butterfly wings. Leela and Amy agree to compete, only to be beaten. However, they do well enough that they are offered a position as a competitive team named The Wingnuts. Unfortunately, they still lose every match, leading them to take the steroid-like Ocephalus Nectar. It improves their musculature and their performance in matches, but makes them mean and aggressive. They eventually qualify for the championships, but the entire Nectar supply is bought by their opponents. The crew journeys to Kif’s homeworld in order to harvest more. 

I’m sure rule 34 hit this hard.

At the butterfly sanctuary where the nectar can be found, they are warned not to provoke the males. Fry soon does and is sprayed by a foul-smelling liquid. However, Amy and Leela both find the scent arousing, as the liquid was butterfly pheromones and the Nectar ingested have made the two act like female butterflies. They decide to go cold turkey while Fry slowly builds a cocoon around himself. During the match, the now normal Wingnuts are getting beaten badly, but Fry hatches as a butterfly and their opponents fly to him due to their Nectar abuse, saving the girls. Fry sheds his butterfly body and returns to normal.

END SUMMARY

I seem to have a soft spot for this episode despite not really thinking it’s a particularly well-written one. I like it mostly because I think the Butterfly Derby was one of the funnier “theoretically possible” things this show ever came up with. I don’t know if you can do it on the moon, but people, like XKCD, have pointed out that you can definitely do it on some of the moons of Saturn. Perhaps you can do it on the moon if there is a false atmosphere in place. Maybe if it’s more oxygen rich? I dunno. I could do the math but I haven’t slept in two days and I’m pretty sure I’d add it up to Llama. Llamas are bigger than bullfrogs. No, I’m not planning on editing this. 

You could do this on a bridge.

Doing an episode about steroid abuse for laughs is a bit overused. I think the Simpsons have done it at least twice. Hell, South Park did it with the Special Olympics, something that they probably should apologize for, honestly. The subplot about Fry becoming a butterfly is kind of weak because you do know that eventually he’s going to come flying out. You probably even get the eventual twist because they already revealed he’s irresistible to Nectar addicts. However, I still think his final random popping out is pretty well-timed. They even mention that he has no brain activity and that is no different than normal.

Yeah, Rule 34 loved this episode.

Overall, not the best episode, but I still think it’s got a certain charm to it.

FAVORITE JOKE

It’s the exchange between Leela and the Professor about Nectar. When he says that the nectar worries him, the following follows:

Leela: Professor, there’s nothing wrong with Nectar. It’s all natural.

Farnsworth: So are carrots, but you don’t see me injecting them between my toes!

While this would be funny enough, he proceeds to put a carrot in his mouth and light it like a cigar before smoking it. This one amuses me to the point that I feel like I have thought of it every time I try to eat a carrot since. 

High as f*ck.

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 107: Zapp Dingbat

NEXT – Episode 109: The Six Million Dollar Mon

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JokerOnTheSofa/), follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.