Futurama Fridays – S6E5 “The Duh-Vinci Code”

Professor Farnsworth finds out that one of his heroes isn’t quite what he expected.    

SUMMARY

Fry (Billy West) goes on a gameshow called “Who Dares to be a Millionaire” and misses the first question, which affirms his stupidity to the crew. The Professor (West) explains that he particularly dislikes Fry’s stupidity because great minds have inspired him, including his hero Leonardo da Vinci. When Fry plays with da Vinci’s beard, he finds a scroll with da Vinci’s lost invention on it. Fy offers to help the Professor decode it, but is knocked out by a hoverbus when walking across the street. When he gets home two weeks later, the Professor has been working non-stop on the invention. Bender (John DiMaggio) arrives with “The Last Supper,” which the Professor analyzes, only to determine that St. James was a robot. The crew then heads to Rome to find the remains of the Saint. 

S6E5 - 1Supper
Also, Zoidberg knows what Pentimento is.

In the catacombs under the Vatican, the crew finds a clockwork robot in St. James’ grave. The robot reveals that he is Animatronio (David Herman), who was built by da Vinci to be an artist’s model. Animatronio says that he was guarding da Vinci’s biggest secret for the Shadow Society of Intellectuals. Realizing that the Professor was not a member of the Society, the robot chooses to die rather than say more. The Professor deduces where the next clue is and the crew heads to the Trevi Fountain, where Bender finds a giant coin with the Vitruvian Man on it. They end up in the Pantheon where they find a hidden laboratory. Animatronio attacks the crew, having faked his death, but is knocked out by Bender after he reveals that all of the devices in the lab fit together. The Professor and Fry end up getting caught up by the mechanism which is revealed to be a spaceship that launches with them inside.

S6E5 - 2Animatronio
HI ANIMATRONIO!!!!

The pair land on Planet Vinci, where they are greeted by Leonardo da Vinci (Maurice LaMarche). It turns out he was an alien from a planet of hyper-intelligent humans, who look down on him because he is the stupidest person in the world. Leonardo explains that he quit inventing and left Earth when he lost the plans for his masterpiece, the Machina Magnifica. Fry shows him the sketch he found in the beard, which turns out to be the Machine. Fry and Leonardo build it together while the Professor tries to learn from the people of Vinci, who ridicule him as an idiot. Finally, Fry and Leonardo unveil the Machina Magnifica, which is revealed to be a doomsday device. The Professor supports Leonardo killing the population, but Fry ends up stopping the machine, which kills Leonardo. The Professor bonds with Fry over having been perceived as a moron.

END SUMMARY

To me, this episode is bottom-tier Futurama. It’s not a particularly fun or clever parody of the source material, it doesn’t have much emotional appeal, and I don’t find most of the jokes funny. The concept of Leonardo da Vinci being an alien isn’t bad, and the concept of a planet of people so smart they give the Professor a complex should be funny, but mixing them together just made the whole thing feel jumbled and rushed, like they only had two half-ideas rather than a whole one. It doesn’t help that for this episode Fry’s intelligence seems even a level or two below his normal stupidity. While Fry is usually lampooned for being an idiot, the fact that he twice mistakes a hammer for a nail in this episode is below even Homer Simpson level dumb. 

S6E5 - 3Fry
How is it everyone can get on a game show but me?

I do admit to liking the character of Animatronio a lot, mostly because Fry keeps greeting him with “Hi Animatronio,” but it still falls flat eventually. I also wish that the show would explain how the hell Fry and the Professor survived a month flying in a small, sealed capsule when they could just have said the trip was instantaneous. Overall, just not a great episode.

FAVORITE JOKE

Pretty much all of the actual clues of the The Da Vinci Code parody. The first one is the revelation that St. James the Lesser was originally painted as a robot based on a series of completely ridiculous statements based on the painting of the Last Supper. The second is when they find the Roman Numerals in the catacombs that indicate the paces to St. James’ tomb. It’s 2^11 – (23×89)… which is just 1. The last is when the Professor is trying to identify the fountain containing the secret laboratory. He sees a statue of Neptune and says that Neptune has a trident, which has three, or trey, points and a V in place of the U in Neptune. He puts together Trey and V and arrives at the Trevi Fountain. Even the crew questions this logic until the Professor just shouts it down, but it turns out he’s right. These are all great shots at the weird deductive reasoning found in the source material, which I appreciate. 

S6E5 - 4Math
Math! It’s FUN-damental.

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.

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Futurama Fridays – S6E4 “Proposition Infinity”

Amy and Bender start dating and end up creating marriage equality legislation.

SUMMARY

Bender (John DiMaggio) starts going on a vandalism spree, but gets caught and arrested. He calls Amy (Lauren Tom) to bail him out. She and Kif (Maurice LaMarche) go to the jail, but when Amy flirts with a convict, Kif gets fed up with her “Bad Boy” obsession and breaks up with her. To make her feel better, Fry (Billy West), Leela (Katey Sagal), and Bender take her out for the evening. When Bender won’t stop mocking her, she and Bender sleep together, ending up in a “robosexual” relationship. They try to hide it from the crew, but are revealed when they get caught sleeping together during a mission. The Professor (West) disapproves of robosexuality and alerts Amy’s parents Leo and Inez (West and Tom) as well as the Robot Pastor (Phil LaMarr).

S6E4 - 1Circusitis
Meanwhile, Hermes deals with Circusitis.

Amy is taken back to Mars and Bender is sent to a camp to “cure” his robosexuality. Fry rescues Amy by pretending to be her boyfriend and Amy rescues Bender. Bender then proposes to Amy. The Professor reminds them that robosexual marriage is illegal, so Amy and Bender start a campaign to legalize it, called Proposition Infinity. In the lead-up to the election, the Proposition is set to fail, but Bender agrees to debate the Professor before the vote. Bender gives a powerful speech about love which resonates with the audience. The Professor tries to give a rebuttal, but ends up admitting that he objects to robosexual marriage because he was formerly in love with a robot who cheated on him. After this admission, he withdraws his objection to the Proposition and it passes. Upon realizing marriage is monogamous, Bender dumps Amy, who gets back together with Kif. 

END SUMMARY

This one ages extremely well, but may age really badly in the future. When this episode aired in 2010, over 95% of America did not allow same-sex marriage, with 42 states having Defense of Marriage Act bans on it. The episode’s premise is a reference to California Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in California, which was part of a national series of laws banning it throughout the nation. However, this episode aired at the time when the nation’s opinion was turning. A few months later, Proposition 8 was ruled unconstitutional by Federal Courts. Within the next 4 years, 36 states and territories would legalize same-sex marriage before Obergefell v. Hodges effectively legalized it throughout the US in 2015. In other words, while this episode came out strongly in favor of same-sex marriage when the nation was turning against it, the nation quickly adopted the position and, in 25 years, young people hopefully won’t even understand the concept of opposing same-sex marriage. 

S6E4 - 2Chart

Overall, it was a solid episode that took a bold stance on a controversial issue at the time, and history proved it right.

FAVORITE JOKE

The parody commercial. In real life, there was a commercial that aired in 2009 called “The Gathering Storm.” It was put forth by the National Organization for marriage and it quickly gained notoriety for being one of the dumbest, worst-acted, and dishonest advertisements ever made. Here it is:

Futurama’s version is exaggerated even further. It includes a character explicitly saying “If robosexual marriage becomes legal, imagine the horrible things that will happen to our children, then imagine we said those things, since we couldn’t think of any. As a mother, those things worry me.” Since a common refrain against same-sex marriage was “how will we explain it to the children,” this calls it out by saying that most people advocating that just don’t have any idea how same-sex marriage works (Hint: It’s the same as straight marriage, except both people are the same sex). I just really like them taking the piss out of those assholes. 

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS –  Episode 79: Attack of the Killer App

NEXT – Episode 81: The Duh-Vinci Code

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Futurama Fridays – S6E3 “Attack of the Killer App”

This is the “Shut Up And Take My Money” episode and it naturally satirizes Apple products.

SUMMARY

The Planet Express crew is hired to throw out the old electronics that the Earth no longer wants, even though they are originally told it’s being recycled. They dump it on the third world of the Antares system, where all e-waste is disposed of, which is poisoning the planet. It’s revealed that not only are the Earth devices wrecking their environment, but the toxic dismantling work is done almost entirely by children (except for the whipping). Leela (Katey Sagal) announces that the crew is going to try to keep their electronics longer… only to immediately throw her phone out when an ad for the new eyePhone comes out. The crew gets in line at the Mom (Tress MacNeille) store to get the new model. Despite the fact that there are a ton of them in the warehouse, the ads and the store tell everyone that the eyePhones are in short supply. Even when told that there are numerous problems with the phone, Fry (Billy West) demands that they give it to him, so they shove it in his eye. 

S6E3 - 1ShutUp
It’s for an eyePhone, which is exactly what you probably thought when you saw this meme.

The crew start to get addicted to the Twit app, based around sending short videos. Fry and Bender (John DiMaggio) make a bet about who can reach one million followers first. Whoever loses has to swim in a pool of vomit from a two-headed goat. Mom is thrilled at the success of the eyePhone, because she’ll be able to use Fry’s and Bender’s accounts to distribute a Twit-worm, which she claims is a “killer app.” Fry is desperately losing the race, but finds out that Leela has a singing boil on her right butt cheek named Susan (Craig Ferguson). Leela begs Fry not to tell anyone about it, but Fry, desperate, uploads a video of Susan and Leela singing, which gains him followers, but wrecks Leela’s reputation and her trust towards Fry.

S6E3 - 2Goats
Comedy Central was weirdly proud of this joke, and no one should be.

It turns out that Bender and Fry get one million followers at exactly the same time, so no one loses the bet. However, it turns out that Fry dunked himself in the pool and posted it online so that HE would be the new viral video instead of Leela. However, Leela had already come to terms with Susan, so the whole thing is rendered pointless. Mom unleashes the Twit-worm which turns people into zombies… so that they’ll buy the new eyePhone 2.0. 

END SUMMARY

This episode is satire of Apple and is pretty much as blatant as the show ever gets. Honestly, jokes like renaming the “iPhone” as the “eyePhone” and “Twitter” as “Twit” are so obvious that I assume even Leno made them during a monologue. However, the episode wisely doesn’t actually rely on them to be funny, instead just recognizing that you know what they’re metaphors for, then telling a story from there. Because of that, it’s able to be a bit more ambitious and satirize the fact that all of us allow ourselves to do things that we know are harmful or stupid just because we’re compelled to by successful marketing and planned obsolescence. 

S6E3 - 3Logo
Yeah, this logo doesn’t look familiar at all.

It’s made even better by the fact that, just like with real applications for smartphones, the service is explicitly provided so that they can use it to gather information about you to sell for other advertisers. Mom points out that it’s somehow even more successful than using her “infosquitoes,” similar to how tracking social media is more accurate than directly polling people for their preferences. Although, since the infosquito appears to mostly determine that people like porn, maybe they’re more accurate than polls. 

S6E3 - 4Info
This is a Star Trek reference, like everything in this show when you focus enough.

The boil named Susan joke in the episode is weird. It’s clearly a reference to Scottish singer Susan Boyle, who sang “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Miserables on Britain’s Got Talent in 2008. She was notable for the massive contrast between her harsh Scottish speaking voice and her lovely singing voice, which resulted in the most shocked expression Simon Cowell has ever made. When Susan the boil is introduced, she’s even singing the same song. However, the boil sings in a thick Scottish accent (that of Craig Ferguson) and horribly off-key. Additionally, it’s drawn to be hairy and ugly. It seems to be a shot at the fact that Susan Boyle is not traditionally attractive, but rather than being funny, that just seems mean. It also never builds up to any kind of redemption or anything, Leela just pops Susan again by sitting on her at the end and she never comes back. I’m just not a fan of punching down, and that’s what this seems like.

S6E3 - 5Susan
Yeah, this isn’t a nice comparison.

Overall, aside from the one odd joke, I do still like the episode. It’s mostly solid satire. 

FAVORITE JOKE

It’s another pedantic math joke, because I love those and Futurama is one of the only shows that does them. When Mom finds out about Fry’s and Bender’s competition, she says that she’ll have two million zombies. Walt (Maurice LaMarche) says:

Actually, Fry and Bender may share some of the same followers. All we can say for sure is that there will be between one million and two million zombies.

Mom responds with:

All I can say for sure is… [slaps Walt].

This is a reference to the Double Counting Fallacy, in which people forget the fact that two non-exclusive groups can share members, resulting in the assumption of the maximum. It’s extremely common, but only pedants like Walt… or me… would correct someone about it. Most people would respond to such correction the way Mom does.

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS –  Episode 78: In-a-Gadda-Da-Leela

NEXT – Episode 80: Proposition Infinity

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Futurama Fridays – S6E2 “In-A-Gadda-Da-Leela”

Leela and Zapp Brannigan get marooned in a garden of Earthly delights.

SUMMARY

A death sphere has been seen destroying planets and is now headed for Earth. Zapp Brannigan (Billy West) fails to come up with a plan, so Richard Nixon (West) asks the Professor (West again) to come up with a plan. The Professor sends Leela (Katey Sagal) in a stealth ship to attack the death sphere and Zapp forces her to take him along, much to Leela’s frustration. Although the ship is invisible, Zapp and Leela are not. They make it to the death sphere, which is revealed to be called V-GINY. They get attacked by the ship and crash on a tropical planet. Leela awakens pinned under a tree which Zapp can’t move. Leela and Zapp strip to avoid overheating, but Zapp courteously provides her leaves to hide their naughty bits and forages for food.  

File:Bachelor Chow 6ACV02.png
I’m impressed with how Leela can steer like that.

Back on Earth, Fry (West) starts to worry about Leela, something that annoys Bender (John DiMaggio). Farnsworth determines that V-GINY was formed by the collision of a military satellite and an FCC satellite. He concludes that the death sphere is destroying “indecent” planets. He tries to convince the citizens of Earth to be less indecent so that V-GINY might not destroy them, but his efforts fail. Brannigan surveys the planet that they landed on and determines that the ship is destroyed and the planet contains no intelligent life. He and Leela watch on in horror as V-GINY destroys Earth. Leela, dehydrated, starts to imagine a talking snake comparing them to Adam and Eve of a new planet. As they discuss repopulating, an apple falls on Leela’s head.

File:6ACV02 promotional picture Adam and Eve.jpg
Those are some very form-fitting leaves.

The two start to kiss, but when Leela bites the apple, she gets momentarily rehydrated and starts to ask Zapp questions about his story. Slowly, it’s revealed that: The ship is working fine, Zapp’s been eating chocolates and drinking mineral water while she starved, he kept her dehydrated so that she’d be easier to trick, they’re on Earth which he faked the destruction of, and he put the tree on Leela. Literally everything has been so that Leela would bang him. Fry arrives and reveals they’re on a Pacific Island where the Planet Express crew went to do a purity chant to hopefully deter V-GINY. V-GINY arrives and explains the Earth may be redeemed if Leela and Zapp prove to be Adam and Eve by having sex. Leela complies to save the world and Fry is forced to watch as V-GINY labels it approved for all audiences. 

END SUMMARY

I think this episode was first conceived as a Simpsons gag, due to the fact that they did an episode based on Homer and Marge being nude throughout and famously had the entire Springfield Methodist Church sing “In The Garden of Eden” by I. Ron Butterfly. It was fitting, much like this episode’s title, since the song “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” by Iron Butterfly is literally a mispronunciation of “In The Garden of Eden.” 

Image result for simpsons nude episode
Homer wasn’t comfortable with these guys.

I admit to not thinking much of this episode. Part of it is that, right after we finally got Futurama back, this episode basically conveys that Fry and Leela are not in a relationship, despite the fact that one episode prior, and one movie before that, we had them establish that they are in love. It didn’t feel like there had been anything to merit this change, except that the writers wanted them to go back so they could keep using some of their unproduced scripts. Also, a lot of the jokes in this episode feel cheap, which apparently is because this was them getting a bunch of the lines out that FOX wouldn’t have allowed them to use. I mean, V-GINY just isn’t that funny beyond the first use, and they never use it for anything more than just “ha, it sounds like vagina.” 

File:V-Giny.PNG
Ha. Sounds like vagina.

Overall, this remains a bit of a let down. 

FAVORITE JOKE

Actually, although the name V-GINY really isn’t that funny, I do appreciate that the plot is a reference to two different Star Trek sources. The idea of a probe gaining sentience and having a name that’s a corruption of a longer term is based on V’Ger, the evolved Voyager 6 probe from Star Trek: The Motion Picture. The idea of two probes colliding and merging into one entity with combined form and mission comes from the original Star Trek episode “The Changeling.” I just appreciate that they managed to mash the two ideas up, much like the probe in the episode.

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS –  Episode 77: Rebirth

NEXT – Episode 79: Attack of the Killer App

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Futurama Fridays – S4E18 “The Devil’s Hands are Idle Playthings”

Futurama’s original finale involves Fry making a deal with the Robot Devil.

SUMMARY

Fry (Billy West) has been learning to play the holophonor since he found out Leela (Katey Sagal) finds musicians irresistible. Bender (John DiMaggio) attends his recital only for Fry to fail miserably. Fry insists that he has beautiful music in his head, but his teacher says he has “stupid fingers.” Fry and Bender head to Robot Hell to make a deal with the Robot Devil (Dan Castellaneta). The Robot Devil offers to replace Fry’s human hands with a random robot’s hands so he can play the holophonor. He spins the wheel which lands on Bender… before clicking one more and landing on the Robot Devil himself. Unable to back out of a deal, the Robot Devil switches hands with Fry.

File:Grumpy Snail.jpg
Fry’s performance was really underwhelming.

With his new hands, Fry quickly masters the holophonor and becomes a hit musician complete with records and live performances. Leela is successfully impressed by his music. The Robot Devil tries to convince him to give his hands back, but Fry refuses. The Hedonismbot (Maurice LaMarche) commissions Fry to write an opera, which he agrees to do if he can write it about Leela. As Fry works on it, he insists that Leela not listen to it until he’s done. The Robot Devil enacts his “ridiculously circuitous plan” to get his hands back and trades Bender an airhorn in exchange for his crotch-plate, which leads Bender to accidentally deafen Leela the day before the Opera premieres. 

File:Buggalo 4ACV18.png
This woman deserves an Opera.

Fry’s Opera opens, but Leela refuses to let Fry know that she can’t hear. The First Act of the Opera deals with Leela’s past and is heralded as a triumph. At intermission, Leela says she would do anything to hear the rest of the Opera, so the Robot Devil offers to trade her robotic ears for her hands. She refuses, so he asks for just one hand. She agrees and he gives her robot ears. He tells her that he will take her hand later, allowing her to hear the rest of the Opera. During the Second Act, Fry is portraying the Robot Devil’s deal from the beginning of the episode, which offends the Robot Devil. He jumps onstage and demands his hands back or else he’ll take Leela’s hand… in marriage. Fry agrees and gives the Devil back his hands, but is unable to complete the Opera with his old hands. As the audience leaves, Leela stays and asks Fry to keep playing, saying that she wants to hear how it ends. Fry manages to play an image of Fry and Leela kissing and walking away together.

END SUMMARY

Futurama has an unusual affinity for doing solid finales. They were essentially “cancelled” on 4 occasions and on each of them they managed to deliver a touching finale that focused on the primary relationship of the show: Fry and Leela. This was the first and, in many ways, the least concrete, but it still gave us a beautiful send-off. 

File:Title Caption Episode 0418.png
YOU WILL!!!!!!

The idea of Fry becoming a musician was set up in the episode in which he got brain worms from a sandwich, something that is referenced in this episode. Leela has repeatedly mentioned her affinity for musicians, such as her ex-boyfriend Sean, so this was a great way for Fry to finally impress her. However, unlike the brain worm episode where Leela was only impressed by Fry when he could play an instrument well, here, Leela finally realizes that what she loved was the beauty in Fry’s soul that came out through his music. Even though he can’t play properly with normal hands, she still sees that beauty. 

Image result for devil's hands are idle playthings finale
Also, he is getting better at the holophonor. 

This also is one of the funnier episodes in the series run and contains several of its most memorable lines, including starting the “Your XXX is bad and you should feel bad” meme featuring Zoidberg. I’ve also seen the occasional meme of Bender reciting the definition of irony. I’m surprised that Bender’s line “If you don’t take this offer right now I will lose all respect for you and punch you” didn’t get similarly meme’d. I guess it’s too long, but I use it frequently when dealing with people. Unrelated, I have a law degree.

S4EJ - 1Punch
Bender is my spirit animal.

Overall, just a fantastic episode and a great way to end the show. Of course, next week I’ll have to start on the four Futurama movies that ended up reviving the franchise for essentially the same number of episodes as already aired. Meaning I only just got past halfway with this. 

WHY COULDN’T YOU GUYS HAVE VOTED FOR WESTWORLD???

FAVORITE JOKE

I really do quote this episode frequently so it’s hard for me to pick. Here’s the top three:

     3. The Devil’s objection to the opera.

Upon seeing his character call himself “stupider” onstage, the Robot Devil interrupts the Opera by saying “Your lyrics lack subtlety. You can’t just have your characters announce how they feel. That makes me feel angry.” Aside from showing a hilarious lack of self-awareness, this is the opposite of how most operas work. Usually characters not only tell you how they’re feeling, they sing a solo about their rage or affection.

File:The Devils Hands are Idle Playthings.jpg
Also, Leela’s boob window is pretty awesome.

     2. Bender defines irony

At multiple points during the episode the Robot Devil misuses the term ironic only for Bender to correct him. Then, when the Robot Devil points out that he bargained for Leela’s hand but is using it as an expression of “hand in marriage,” Bender reads from the dictionary: “The use of words expressing something other than their literal intention… Now that is ‘irony’.” Admittedly, Jagged Little Pill by Alanis Morissette had been out for a while, so everyone had already had a fight about the definition of ironic, but I still find this a fun gag.

S4EJ - 2Dictionary
Fun fact: Those are under all Opera seats.
  1. The Meme

Look, just because it’s popular doesn’t mean I don’t find it hilarious. After Fry loses his hands, he says that he can’t continue the Opera. Zoidberg responds with “Yes you can! The beauty was in your heart, not your hands.” Fry then attempts to play, poorly, and Zoidberg immediately turns on him, shouting “The music’s bad and you should feel bad.” It’s probably the best representation of an audience at any open-mic night I’ve ever been to. They’ll encourage you to try, then destroy your self-esteem.

Image result for your x is bad and you should feel bad

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 71: Spanish Fry

NEXT – Episode 73: Bender’s Big Score

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 – S4E17 “Spanish Fry”

Lrrr, Ruler of the Planet Omicron Persei 8, is in the market for some human horn, if you know what I mean. And you don’t.

SUMMARY

The crew goes camping at a Bigfoot reserve to Fry’s (Billy West) delight, which is mocked by Bender (John DiMaggio) and the Professor (West). That night, Fry is abducted by aliens and the next morning he is returned without a nose. They return to New New York to get a new nose, but Fry isn’t happy with anything but his old nose. The crew discover that alien poachers have been removing noses to sell them as “human horn,” an extremely expensive aphrodisiac that in all likelihood does nothing. Fry, Leela (Katey Sagal), and Bender head to the Galactic Bazaar where they find out that Fry’s nose was sold to Lrrr (Maurice LaMarche), Ruler of the Planet Omicron Persei 8. They travel there and learn that Lrrr is trying to use it to spice up his marriage to Ndnd (Tress MacNeille), but she quickly rebuffs his attempt and returns Fry’s nose. On the way out, Bender asks why they chose the human nose instead of the “wang dang doodle,” only for Lrrr to reveal that they thought noses were the human genitals. Bender corrects him, so Lrrr captures Fry and demands his “lower horn.” 

File:Humanhorn.jpg
This is so weird. 

Leela, wanting to help Fry keep his “lower horn,” points out that Lrrr and Ndnd have a lot of relationship problems that won’t be solved by an aphrodisiac. Ndnd remarks that she misses how sweet and loving Lrrr used to be, so Fry proposes a romantic dinner. If they end up happy, he gets to keep his “lower horn.” The crew tries to arrange an extremely sexy evening for the two, but everything backfires horribly. Fry is about to be harvested when Bigfoot appears. The creature delights the Omicronians, finding it adorable. The Park Ranger, Ranger Park (David Herman), arrives and attempts to tranquilize Bigfoot so that he can cut off his big feet and use it to prove Bigfoot is real. Lrrr and Ndnd defend the Bigfoot, leading Lrrr to realize that by pursuing Fry’s “lower horn,” he’s not much better than the Park Ranger. He releases Fry, Ndnd realizes that Lrrr still has a sensitive side, and they start making out, causing everyone else to flee.

END SUMMARY

I admit that I didn’t remember this episode being particularly clever when I went to re-watch it, and it’s not, but it does have a number of solid jokes, including some that most episodes of Futurama would avoid. The scene of the “Bigfoot Preserve” is hilarious, because they basically are trying to justify taking action to conserve a potentially fictional species. The style of the video is done in such a way that either opinion about the existence of Bigfoot could be potentially satisfied, which is perfect for a Government PSA. Fry proposes putting up a network of cameras to catch Bigfoot, to which Ranger Park enthusiastically says “Ah, that would be very expensive, and most people who believe in Bigfoot are broke,” which is the most realistic answer I’ve ever gotten out of a Park Ranger. I also love that Fry’s justification for loving Bigfoot is that he “was a loner who hated the popular monsters yet longed to be one.” It’s such a ridiculous speculation on many levels, but it’s also exactly the kind of projection people make onto celebrities.

File:Duraflame.JPG
This is the future that [insert some group] wants.

The plot of humans essentially being treated the same way that Rhinos are treated, in that they are killed or maimed because of a falsely perceived aphrodisiac effect, is a good idea, but I do wish they’d carried it a little further. However, it does present an inherently weird thing about eating things like Rhino Horn or Stag Heart as an aphrodisiac: Why would the non-sex parts of the animal give you a sexual advantage?

File:Humanhorn shop.png
And why trust stuff you bought at this establishment?

Overall, pretty fun episode.

FAVORITE JOKE

The running gag of Bender taking shots at Fry’s “lower horn” is both random and hilarious, much like Fry’s “lower horn.” They’re made even better by the fact that they only seem to happen at times in which Fry or his genitals are in imminent danger and that each of them is accompanied by Bender hooting wildly.

The exchanges are:

Fry: Wait! Listen. I’m usually the first guy to toot my own lower horn–

Bender: [shouting] I’ll say! [He hoots.]

Fry: But in this case I-I just don’t think it’ll do any good.

Bender: [shouting] That’s what she said! [He hoots again.]

Lrrr: [eating] Mmm! This jerked chicken is good. I think I’ll have Fry’s lower horn jerked.

Bender: [shouting] It’s used to it! [Hoots]

File:Spanish Fry.JPG
The horn harvester is not humane.

Fry: Yes! I never thought I’d escape with my doodle, but I pulled it out!

Bender: [shouting] Just like at the movie theater! [Hoots]

Lrrr: This human’s lower horn is one of God’s creatures, a living thing, and all living things, large and small–

Bender: [shouting] In this case “small”! [Hoots]

Leela: Well, Fry, it looks like you get to hold onto your lower horn.

Bender: As usual! [He hoots.] [shouting] Run away!

It’s somewhat out of character for Bender and an unusual style of humor for the show, which makes it all the better that it’s usually discussing something horrifying or dangerous. Also, I think the movie theater reference is to when Paul “Pee Wee Herman” Reubens got caught exposing himself at an adult theater.

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 70: Three Hundred Big Boys

NEXT – Episode 72: The Devil’s Hands are Idle Playthings

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 – S5E14 “Obsoletely Fabulous”

Bender, the robot, revolts against technology. It’s cool, he’s made of wood now.

SUMMARY

Mom (Tress MacNeille) demonstrates a new robot at the Roboticon 3003 trade show, Robot 1-X (Phil LaMarr). Bender (John DiMaggio) is selected to compete against 1-X, only for it to be revealed that the robot is better than him in every way. Moreover, the robot is kind and helpful, which drives Bender into fits of jealousy and frustration. When the Professor (Billy West) buys one, Bender decides to get an upgrade to make him compatible with them. Upon seeing that the upgrade literally changes the minds of any robot that does it, Bender breaks free and runs away, heading out to sea.

File:1-X.jpg
You need a robot to open it, like with pocket knives.

Bender gets stranded on a tropical island and quickly starts to run out of fuel. He is revived by a group of obsolete robots who refused to upgrade at various points in technology development. While he’s skeptical of their regressive ways at first, he quickly not only adopts their ideals, but embraces them more zealously than they do. He demands a downgrade, resulting in him now being made out of wood and powered by steam, despite how insane that sounds. Determined to force the rest of the world to embrace his new low-tech philosophy, Bender returns to civilization to declare war.

File:Obsoletely Fabulous.jpg
Apparently all of Bender’s memories are contained in his eyes.

He and the other robots commit various acts of eco-terrorism before Bender finally reveals what we knew all along: He just wants to destroy Robot 1-X. He and the others attack Planet Express with a catapult, but they end up missing and hitting the ship, collapsing it onto the rest of the crew. The ship’s fuel catches on fire, endangering them further. Bender tries to save them, only to find that his body has been consumed by termites to the point of disabling him. The crew point out that the only way to save them is to ask Robot 1-X for help. Swallowing his pride, he asks the robot to aid him and saves the crew. Bender finally admits that Robot 1-X is great. It’s then revealed that Bender is actually just back at the upgrade and that everything else was a dream generated to make Bender accept Robot 1-X. He questions reality, asking if it’s possible that he’s just the product of someone’s imagination, before accepting that “reality is what you make of it” and walking off into a fairy world. 

END SUMMARY

This is the second episode of the season where the end reveals that pretty much all of it was a dream and somehow neither of them really disappointed me. The former, “The Sting,” used the fact that it was a dream to mess with Leela’s emotions and the storytelling process in general, while this one uses it to make an odd point about the nature of memory and perception. Bender finds out that all of his experiences in this episode were completely fabricated and it causes him to have a massive existential crisis about the fact that he can’t trust anything if memory is malleable. He then moves on to a higher plane and indicates that if he can create false beings to occupy his false memory, then he could very well be a false being created by another person. Eventually, he just accepts the fact that he would never know the difference and moves on, choosing to define reality himself. Despite the fact that it only occurs in the last 2 minutes or so of the episode, this is a surprisingly big journey for the show to send a character on. 

File:Bender's mouth and eyes 4ACV14.png
Also the second one where they fake a main character probably dying. 

There have been lots of films that have dealt with the concept of how memory and perception shape reality, ranging from Dark City to Memento to An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, but this one actually most reminds me of the film Brazil by Terry Gilliam. At the end, the protagonist of both end up choosing to abandon reality and escape to a better existence in defiance of what’s being forced on them. In Brazil, it’s torture and lobotomization by an insane government, here, it’s an upgrade that forcibly changes his brain. I’m not sure it’s an intentional invocation, but I still find the comparison appropriate.

Image result for brazil film ending"
Sadly, the episode has less Jonathan Pryce.

The idea of an island of robots that have regressive attitudes is a very Futurama-esque twist. It’s a satire of the common social issue that everyone believes that all the societal changes they adopted are appropriate, but any further changes are seen as too radical to be accepted. In this case, it’s tied in with the common complaint that people have as they get older that technology has changed too much to be kept up with. Plus, it results in a wooden robot, which is just hilarious.

File:Cartridge obvious.png
I also love that there’s somehow a cartridge robot, despite cartridges being obsolete first.

Overall, it’s a pretty solid episode.

FAVORITE JOKE

Lisa, the waterwheel robot (Tress MacNeille). 

File:Lisa.png
She wants to liiiiiiiiive.

Lisa is a robot who, for some reason, is powered by a waterwheel and who appears to forget that fact constantly. Every time she runs out of water, she screams and indicates that she thinks she’s going to shut down forever by not finding a water source. This is such an insane concept for a robot and it’s only made more perfect by how Tress MacNeille goes from calm and reverent to panicked and insane at the drop of a hat.  It helps that, despite how much it constantly causes her trouble, she tries to represent her unique feature as a point of pride. Just a great concept all around.

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 67: Bend Her

NEXT – Episode 69: The Farnsworth Parabox

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.