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 – S4E16 “Three Hundred Big Boys”

A Tax Refund leads everyone on Earth to go a little spending crazy.

SUMMARY

Zapp Brannigan (Billy West) leads Earth to victory over the Spiderians of Tarantulon 6, seizing trillions in the spoils of war. Richard Nixon (West) decides to give every citizen of Earth $300 due to literal Voodoo Economists. Each member of the Planet Express crew gets one $300 bill and they all spend it in different ways: Leela (Katey Sagal) decides to swim with a whale, Scruffy (David Herman) gets a $300 haircut, Zoidberg (West) tries to live like a wealthy person, Fry (West) decides to buy 100 cups of coffee, Bender (John DiMaggio) plans to buy a cigar, but instead buys burglars tools in order to steal a better cigar, Professor Farnsworth (West) buys stem cells which make him look younger, Hermes (Phil LaMarr) buys his son Bamboo Boogie Boots, stilts which immediately malfunction, and Amy (Lauren Tom) buys a talking tattoo. Kif (Maurice LaMarche) buys Amy a watch which falls into the mouth of the same killer whale Leela is scheduled to swim with later in the week. The Professor also meets a young woman named April (Tress MacNeille) and starts a romance with her while pretending to be 25.

File:$300 bill.jpg
The Nixon Fun Bill.

Kif’s depressed about losing the watch, but Leela agrees to wear a suit filled with rotten fish for her swim so that the whale will eat the fish and vomit up the watch. Bender breaks into the cigar shop to steal the Grand Cigar, but is caught on camera and pursued by Smitty and URL (West and DiMaggio). Leela’s swimsuit gets eaten, along with the rotten fish, resulting in Mushu the whale vomiting up the watch, but Kif gets arrested for taking museum property. Zoidberg tries multiple “rich person” activities, but rejects them all. Fry becomes addicted to caffeine.

File:Three Hundred Big Boys.jpg
The whale is puking up a fortune.

The staff all attend a party to celebrate Zapp’s victory at the Silk Surplus. Zoidberg tries to buy some art, but finds out that $300 is not that much. Kif gets free when it’s revealed that he was being kept for the ambergris that covers his body. Bender lights his super-expensive cigar. The Professor and April reveal that he is super old and she is heavier than she appears, but they continue to be attracted to each other. Hermes and his son, Dwight (LaMarr), still stuck on their Bamboo Boogie Boots, end up breaking into the party and knocking Bender’s cigar into the silk tapestries, setting the whole party ablaze. Everyone is about to die when Fry drinks his 100th cup of coffee and enters a state of hyper-enlightenment, allowing him to evacuate everyone at super-speed, though they don’t realize it’s him. Out back, everyone finds Zoidberg cooking hotdogs and they all enjoy a meal while saying that they got a few good stories out of the tax rebate.

END SUMMARY

This episode is Futurama’s version of the celebrated The Simpsons episode “22 Short Films About Springfield,” which itself was based on the film Thirty-Two Short Films About Glenn Gould. In this, rather than just observing how a normal day in the lives of all of the characters on Futurama would go, the episode focuses on what the cast would do when given a windfall. Notably, none of them actually try to invest the money, both because that would be boring and also because the purpose of a tax stimulus is to encourage spending. 

File:Bamboo Boogie Boots.jpg
Yes, including on stupid stuff. Especially stupid stuff.

The strength of this episode is how flawlessly they keep each story feeding into the next one. The plotlines shift according to geography, theme, or even the previous line spoken, which makes everything feel extremely cohesive and allows for a large amount of storytelling within a short time. Each of the stories explores a different aspect of the characters, ranging from Bender’s thievery to Farnsworth’s amorous ambitions to Leela finally doing something spontaneous. It’s a nice way of giving us a large number of character moments in a short time. Perhaps the most impressive thing is that at the end of the episode, Fry gets superpowers and it somehow feels completely earned and not like a cheap deus ex machina. I think it’s because everyone secretly believes caffeine can give you hyperfocus rather than a coronary. 

Image result for fry 100 cups of coffee
Yes, they make a bullet-time reference.

Overall, this is definitely one of the best Futurama episodes, mostly because it doesn’t really feel like any other episode. 

FAVORITE JOKE

The Whale Biologist. He’s one of my favorite unnamed characters. Everything we learn about him just makes him more hilarious and absurd. First, we find out that he hates whales, especially Mushu, but refuses to explain why he became a whale biologist. Second, he believes that whales kill for at least five reasons, one of which is just for fun. Third, he believes that his job requires him to be brutally and needlessly honest, but excuses it by saying “I’m a whale biologist.” Fourth, law enforcement has to listen to him due to his position. Last, he is intensely devoted to Aquarium property, including ambergris, a whale byproduct. His character has so many hidden depths… because whale biologist.

File:WhaleBiologist.png
Tell me your secrets, Whale Biologist!!!

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 69: The Farnsworth Parabox

NEXT – Episode 71: Spanish Fry

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 – S4E15 “The Farnsworth Parabox”

In one of the funniest episodes of the show, we find out what life is like on the other side of the universal boundary.

Warning up front: The episode labels the universes Universe A and Universe 1, which gets super confusing but I’m still adopting it.

SUMMARY

Fry (Billy West) invites Leela (Katey Sagal) out on a date, but gets shot down as usual. Meanwhile, the Professor (West) conducts a reckless experiment that almost kills him, then gives the box containing the result of the experiment to the crew and tells them to shoot it into the sun. He orders them not to look into the box for any reason. Hermes (Phil LaMarr) puts Leela in charge. Fry and Bender (John DiMaggio) try to steal the box, but Leela tricks them into stealing random junk. Eventually, Leela flips a coin to decide if she should look into the box which lands on “look.” She looks inside, only to fall through it and land… back in the Planet Express building. Fry (Fry-1) walks in, with different hair and clothes, asking why she looks different. Leela says she doesn’t, only to be confronted by a different version of her (Leela-1) with red hair. 

Image result for futurama the farnsworth parabox
It’s the Box to end all Boxes. 

The other Professor (Professor-1) realizes what happened: The box he created contained Universe A (the main universe), while the Professor-A created a box containing Universe 1. Assuming that Universe-A must be evil, Professor-1 has Leela-1 abduct the rest of the Planet Express crew-A (except Hermes-A). Each group assumes the other is evil and finds out that the difference between their universes are the outcomes of coin flips. Each person is assigned to monitor their counterpart, which leads Fry-A-and Leela-A to find out that the other Fry and Leela are happily married. Finding out that everyone isn’t evil, the groups quickly bond with their counterparts, which drives Fry-A to anger when he finds out that only a single coin flip kept him from being with Leela. At the same time, the two Zoidbergs (West) partner together and steal the box containing Universe-A to get everyone’s attention. The next morning, Professor-1 announces that everyone is free to go, only for Hermes-1 to come in and ask why they aren’t shooting the box into the sun. The crews realize that Hermes-A is about to shoot THEIR box into the sun and try to hurry back to their universe. 

Image result for futurama the farnsworth parabox
Remember, all of the differences are from coin flips… somehow.

The Professor-1 tries to retrieve the hidden box, only to find out that it’s gone. The Professors start generating more boxes, hoping to find another box containing their universe. As they fail, the Zoidbergs return with the box, but they panic and flee into another universe, scattering the boxes containing other universe. Everyone starts to hop from universe to universe to find the Zoidbergs, finally managing to track them down. Both crews head to Universe-A and stop the destruction of the box. Leela-A gives Fry-A a chance to go out with her and the Professors each invert their boxes, resulting in each having a box that contains their own universe. Fry sits on the box, compressing the universe, but no one seems to notice.

Image result for futurama the farnsworth parabox
This would have been a decent show premise on its own.

END SUMMARY

This is one of the best episodes of the show. Part of it is watching all of the characters do some projected introspection in order to find out what is different, including finding out that Professor-1 removed his own brain and watching both of the Zoidbergs lie to each other about being successful. Seeing a version of Fry and Leela together that are happy was a major bit of fanservice and, since the show was about to end at the time, sets us up to believe the “happy” ending that is hinted at by the original finale. It’s also a nice touch that the alternate Fry (Fry-1) is more mature and the alternate Leela (Leela-1) more spontaneous than their counterparts, indicating that they both are improved by knowing each other. 

File:Deleted Scene (041502).png
Meanwhile, Fry-A gets beaten up at a Neil Diamond concert.

We’ve often seen the “mirror universe” trope and it’s even invoked within the episode, but in typical Futurama style it’s subverted by never having an “evil” universe. It just has a universe where stuff is different, but not necessarily better or worse. The most memorable sequence in this episode has to be the universe-hopping. We see a ton of gag universes ranging from Roman to Robot, all of which are pretty good for a laugh. Despite that it only lasts for a few minutes, it is one of the parts of the show that I best remembered for years. 

File:Frys.jpg
All the redheaded ones are single. Weird.

Overall, I love this episode. It gave us “Bite my glorious golden ass,” which is basically a work of art comparable to any Shakespearean monologue.

Image result for futurama glorious golden ass
Explain the difference between this and “All the world’s a stage.”

FAVORITE JOKE

Runner-up:

One of my favorite touches is that one of the universes is Universe 1729, the Hardy-Ramanujan number. The story goes that the mathematician G.H. Hardy visited Indian Mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan in the hospital and told Ramanujan that he had taken a cab to see him. Hardy expressed sadness that the cab’s number was 1729 and that he was disappointed it wasn’t an interesting number. Ramanujan said that it was indeed an interesting number, because it was the smallest number that could be expressed as the sum of two cubes in two ways (1729 = 13 + 123 = 93 + 103). Since then, any number which is expressed as the sum of two cubes in n distinct ways are called taxicab numbers. In this episode, what populates Universe 1729? Rude Bobbleheads, which are two things often found in New York Taxicabs.

Image result for futurama the farnsworth parabox
This is the day Funko was born.

Favorite Joke:

Not as complicated, but still funnier is that when the two Benders appear in the Roman universe (Universe XVII), as they leave the Professor notices them and says “Quae?” This is the Latin equivalent of his catchphrase “Whaaaa?” It’s so simple, but it’s such a random gag that I love it.

Image result for futurama the farnsworth parabox roman
You don’t need Arabic numbers to make a universe. Fun.

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 68: Obsoletely Fabulous

NEXT – Episode 70: Three Hundred Big Boys

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.

Futurama Fridays – S4E13 “Bend Her”

Bender gets a sex change to cheat at the Olympics and then to date a celebrity.

SUMMARY 

The crew goes to attend the 3004 Olympic games where Hermes (Phil LaMarr) has been pulled out of retirement to compete in the Limbo. The rest of the Jamaican team has been detained at the airport for being stereotypes. Since Hermes is out of shape, the Professor (Billy West), gives him a special bodysuit designed to make him super limbo-y. He hopes to finally defeat his bitter rival Barbados Slim (John DiMaggio), the only man to win Gold Medals at both Limbo and Sex. He’s also Hermes’s wife LaBarbara’s (Dawnn Lewis) first husband. Unfortunately, the suit bursts from Hermes’s gut right before the finish line, costing Hermes the race. 

Related image
Barbados Slim is the one closest to the camera, because cameras can’t stop staring at him.

Bender (DiMaggio) insists that he could win a medal at the bending competition, only to realize that he has no chance when he sees the other competitors. He then sees that the female bending robots have much easier competition, so he decides to disguise himself as a fembot. He wins the gold, but finds out that, much like the real Olympics, there is gender testing. He has the Professor make him into a fembot (something that even the professor admits is ill-defined), collects her medals as “Coilette from Robonia,” and remains a woman for the celebrity. While on a talk show, she meets Calculon (Maurice LaMarche), who falls for her. She dates him for the gifts and the celebrity, which offends Leela (Katey Sagal) and Amy (Lauren Tom). Eventually, Calculon asks her to marry him, which she accepts. 

Image result for Bend her futurama
I mean, he owns the world’s largest yacht. You don’t say no to that.

Bender/Coilette just wants to scam Calculon for his money, but eventually realizes that Calculon’s feelings are real. She can’t just leave him, so she decides to come up with a thing that he can believe: A Soap Opera death. So, at the wedding, she has the crew act out a contrived death which Calculon accepts and uses to try and win an Emmy. At the end of the episode, Bender is made male again, but he still pines for Calculon a little. 

END SUMMARY

This episode both doesn’t age well and is also strangely prescient. The idea of someone undergoing a sex change solely for the point of winning contests is something that seems to have come up more in recent years, but this episode plays the idea for a laugh. The episode is able to sidestep the fact that it would be insane to undergo massive surgeries and hormone therapies to win a medal by having robot genders be so ill-defined that it basically amounts to an oil change. The thing that most seems ridiculous, though, is that Bender, who is not a competitive athlete, could actually beat female athletes. The overall world record holders for weightlifting events are all men, but the female Clean-and-Jerk record is still over 400lbs and the Bench Press record is over 600lbs. That’s way more than even most casual bodybuilders can lift, let alone a guy who mostly drinks beer and slacks off like Bender. 

Image result for women's olympic clean and jerk record
Here’s Tatyana Kashirina lifting twice my body weight. 

The subplot about Hermes, too, predicts something that would later become an issue. Farnsworth designs him a suit which essentially grants him an unnaturally limbo adept figure, allowing him to almost defeat a much better athlete. This resembles the LZR Racer, a swimsuit designed by Speedo in 2008 which supposedly made swimmers more aerodynamic. The suit not only worked, but worked so well that 93 World Records were broken while wearing them and 98% of all the swim medals at Beijing in 2008 involving the suits. They were so devastating to the competition that they were called equivalent to doping and banned. I’d like to think the people designing it watched this episode. 

Image result for lzr racer
Granted, giving it to Michael Phelps helped.

The subplot about dating Calculon is surprisingly sweet and, while Bender acts like a jerk, Calculon’s sincerity makes it heartwarming. I also love how they play out the Soap Opera death, particularly the random intrusion of Fry as Congo Jack, who spears Coilette. 

Image result for congo jack futurama
It’s more ridiculous in context.

Overall, the episode’s still funny, even if some parts of it aren’t the best in the show.

FAVORITE JOKE

Image result for french stereotypes futurama
Also the Jean Reno fan club of the year 3004.

It’s the list of all the fake countries in the future. There’s a country that has a population of one person called the “Nation of Joe.” There’s a bunch of fur-clad robots from “Cyberia.” Devil’s Island, a prison island off of French Guiana which was used as a prison by France until 1946, is shown to now be its own country… whose entire population are clad as criminals. The Republic of French Stereotypes appears to be the most hated nation in the world, because its athletes are shown being snooty, wearing berets, and carrying bagets. I’d also like to add that Bender’s fake country, Robonia, has my vote for best anthem: 

Hail, Hail, Robonia… A land I didn’t make up!

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 66: The Sting

NEXT – Episode 68: Obsoletely Fabulous

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 – S4E12 “The Sting”

Fry’s dead and Leela’s guilty. Time for some crazy trippy dreams.

SUMMARY

Fry (Billy West), Bender (John DiMaggio), and Leela (Katey Sagal) are told they’re not good enough to collect Space Bee honey for the Professor (West). Leela insists they are and drags the other two on a mission, even though it killed the last Planet Express crew. The crew reaches the space bee hive and paint Bender like a bee so he can communicate via dancing. They eventually find the previous Planet Express crew, a load of honeycomb, and a flow of royal jelly. Leela collects a baby queen bee and some royal jelly as the crew tries to collect the honey. Bender accidentally insults the queen of the hive and the crew is chased back to the ship. On route to Earth, the baby queen tries to kill Leela, so Fry jumps in front of her, sacrificing himself by being impaled with the stinger. He dies.

File:Old Planet Express Ship.png
This is how at least one previous crew died, so only losing Fry is still a net win.

Fry’s coffin is ejected into space after a sad funeral. Leela, blaming herself, eats some space honey to ease the pain, knocking her out. She dreams of a still-alive Fry telling her that he left her a surprise in his locker. She goes to work to find it and discovers that Fry did indeed leave her a one-eyed stress-relieving doll as a gift. Leela says this proves Fry is alive, but a brain-scan by the Professor says that she’s just blocking out memories due to grief. She has another dream of him being alive and awakes to his jacket on her, only for it to turn out to be her jacket when she shows it at work. They inform her that she might be having issues because she’s eating spoonfuls of Space Honey, which, if overused, can lead to permanent sleep. Leela tries to use it again that night and knocks over the jar, reconstituting Fry from the jelly. She celebrates Fry being alive, until Fry tells her to wake up, revealing it’s a dream. 

File:Fry's Funeral.png
I’m just curious why only 2 Neptunians showed up.

Leela starts hallucinating regularly and envisioning all of the crew telling her that she killed Fry. She decides to take enough honey to dream forever, only for Fry’s voice to reach her and tell her that sleeping forever isn’t an option. She’s stronger than that and she should fight against it. She starts to be surrounded by bees attacking her only for Fry’s voice to tell her that he loved her. She cries, only to wake up in the hospital next to Fry. It turns out that the stinger DID go through Fry… into Leela, who got all the poison. Fry had to get a new spleen, but after that he never left her side, begging her to wake up for two weeks. The voices she heard were him watching out for her. They hug.

File:The Sting.jpg
My ship is about to come in.

END SUMMARY

This episode was a lot darker on rewatch than I remember. Leela’s not only in a coma, but while in the coma she is seemingly about to make an active choice to put herself to sleep forever, which I can only assume means never waking up again in real life. Even worse, she’s doing it because she thinks that she’s killed Fry and is desperate to see him again. Despite the fact that Fry and Leela’s on-again-off-again relationship is not currently on, we see in this episode that Leela truly is starting to have feelings for Fry that are just as strong as his feelings for hers. More remarkably, it happens without Fry having the brain worms from the last time she was smitten with him. Having the entire episode inside of her head gives us a clearer picture of this character right before the show was going to need to wrap up this plotline. Still, having her so grief-stricken that she’s essentially going insane and about to kill herself is freaking dark.

S4EA - 1Frame.png
This is literally her suicide weapon next to a picture of her love. Super dark.

What’s more impressive in some ways is that the ending to this episode doesn’t feel like a cop-out to me. I mean, this is an episode where the twist is that it was all a dream, an episode where they fake having a main character die, and an episode where somehow you can dream within dreams and yet I didn’t hate it the way that I usually hate all of those cliches. I think it’s that this episode was pretty early in hinting to the audience that it wasn’t real and that it used the dream setting perfectly as a way of trying to show everyone how devastating grief can be. Leela blames herself for Fry’s death so completely that all of the walls in her apartment are chanting that she killed him. This is only made worse by the fact that Fry actually sacrificed himself for her. I also appreciate that in reality, Fry still did try to sacrifice himself for her, even if he ended up only losing a spleen. It shows again how much he cares for Leela.

S4EA - 2Walls.png
Great way to visualize guilt.

Overall, I like this episode a lot. I really enjoy the spontaneous musical number and the final hug between Fry and Leela. 

FAVORITE JOKE

There’s a shot of all of the women Fry has slept with from the show. During the shot, Kug (Tress MacNeille), the Amazonian that banged Fry in “Amazon Women in the Mood” says “Him do good Snu-Snu” only for all of his other exes to say “eh….” Remember, Kug had never had sex before and it seems unlikely that she’s had it since, so her perspective might not be great. The other women we see present are Petunia (MacNeille) the hooker “Put Your Head on My Shoulders,” Morgan Proctor (Nora Dunn) the bureaucrat “How Hermes Requisitioned His Groove Back,” Michelle (Sarah Silverman) his frozen ex “The Cryonic Woman,” and the other 21st Century girl he hooked up with from “Love’s Labours Lost in Space.” However, next to them is a radiator… a reference to Fry saying he hooked up with a radiator woman from the radiator planet at the Miss Universe contest in “The Lesser of Two Evils.” Since this is in Leela’s mind, that means that Leela must, on some level, believe that Fry DID in fact hook-up with a radiator alien. I love that this is the man she eventually ends up with.

File:Women Fry slept with.png

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 65: Where No Fan Has Gone Before

NEXT – Episode 67: Bend Her

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 – S4E11 “Where No Fan Has Gone Before”

Futurama finally drops the pretense and just brings back Star Trek… with Welshie.

SUMMARY

Fry (Billy West) learns that Star Trek was banned in the future because it had previously become a religion that had caused a series of wars. Remembering that he met him in the pilot, Fry goes to see Leonard Nimoy’s head at the Head Museum. Nimoy eventually admits to missing being Spock and missing all of his co-stars, so Fry, Leela (Katey Sagal), Bender (John DiMaggio), and Nimoy head into space to find the rest of the Star Trek cast. The crew heads towards Omega 3, the planet where the Star Trek tapes were disposed of, only to crash on the planet. 

File:StarTrekWars.jpg
 In nomine Spock, et Bones, et Kirk.

The crew emerges to find a ton of sets from the show, as well as the cast, having been rejuvenated and given new bodies. It’s revealed that the planet is ruled by an alien energy being named Melllvar (Maurice LaMarche). He murders Welshie (David Herman), Scotty’s replacement, to show the crew that he is serious. With the cast complete (minus James Doohan, the guy who played Scotty), Melllvar announces he’s hosting the biggest Star Trek convention of all time.  Melllvar is apparently the second biggest Star Trek fan of all time, next to Fry, something that infuriates him. Ultimately, he tries to get the cast to enact his fan script, distracting him.

File:Melllvar's Mom.png
It also turns out that he lives in his mom’s basement and is 34. Weird for a deity.

The Planet Express crew leave the planet, then return to rescue the cast, only for them to fail and Melllvar to question if the Planet Express crew, as actual space heroes, is more worthy of his fandom than the cast. He orders them to fight to the death, but that falls apart quickly when the crews agree to work together after Melllvar is called to dinner by his mother. However, in order to escape, the cast has to jettison their bodies and become heads in jars again. Melllvar pursues them and they end up being captured by Zapp Brannigan’s (West) ship. After a hearing over the Crew’s possession of the banned Star Trek tapes (and cast), the chase continues until Fry convinces him that basing his life off of a show is not worth it. 

The trial is the framing device and it’s a great reference itself.

END SUMMARY

So, ever since Leonard Nimoy appeared in the pilot, everyone probably felt like this episode was inevitable. Futurama was definitely a product of Star Trek, has made a ton of references to the series, and basically never shied away from talking about it until this episode, in which it spontaneously is declared banned in the future. The idea that Star Trek fandom becomes so insanely dedicated that infighting leads to entire wars is… well, actually pretty accurate. I mean, have you seen how much people fight over what the best series is? There are people who would sooner get their eyes ripped out than admit that Picard was a better captain than Kirk and people who would rip the eyes out to get someone to say that. This is after the franchise has only been around for 50 years. Give it time, this episode might become more true, which is sad for a franchise founded on the idea of a Utopian future for humanity.

File:TrekChurch.jpg
Shots fired at John Travolta.

I love how much work this episode put into making as many references and jokes to the series as they could. The writer of this episode, David A. Goodman, actually got a real job writing for a Star Trek show because of it. In a bizarre twist that I keep bringing up, Matt Groening, the show’s creator, couldn’t really contribute to this episode, because he had never seen Star Trek. I find it hilarious that someone who created a sci-fi show wouldn’t have seen something so central to the genre. It’s like writing a fantasy show and never having read or seen Lord of the Rings

File:Where No Fan Has Gone Before.jpg
Sulu has some rockin’ abs, but Groening didn’t know why.

The only person who refused to appear in this episode from the original Star Trek cast is James Doohan, the original Scotty, which is why he’s replaced with a surrogate named Welshy. Because of this, the original title of the episode was “We Got Everyone But Scotty.” DeForest Kelley, the original Bones McCoy, appears in the episode but doesn’t speak, due to him being dead for several years. Weirdly, we haven’t gotten a firm explanation why Scotty refused to appear in the episode, but it’s been made clear that it was a very firm rejection. They even joke in the commentary that it was a “no way” as opposed to just a “no.” 

Overall, this was a solid episode that paid tribute to another great show. 

FAVORITE JOKE

Yeah, there’s so many this is going to have to be a countdown:

3) “He’s Dead, Jim”

When all of the Star Trek fans are being killed off, it’s revealed that they were killed in the manner most typical of virgins: Thrown into a volcano. In the grand tradition of Star Trek, every time someone is killed, one of the people says “He’s dead, Jim,” the catchphrase of Bones McCoy from the original series.

Image result for futurama volcano

2) Balok’s Puppet

At the end of some of the closing credits of the original Star Trek show, they would show an image of a puppet used by the character Balok (Clint Howard) in the episode “The Corbomite Maneuver.” It was a fairly iconic image for a while because of this. In this episode, there is a picture of Lt. Kif Kroker done in the same style as that image during the closing credits.

File:Kifbalok.jpg

1) George and Walter Share

So, during filming of the second season of Star Trek, Geoge Takei had conflicts that kept him from appearing in about half of the episodes. Because of this, they brought in Walter Koenig to play Pavel Chekov and gave him most of the stuff that Sulu would have done in the outlined episodes. Since budget was pretty small on Star Trek, Takei and Koenig ended up having to share a dressing room and, when they were in an episode together, would sometimes have to share scripts until the final was ready. If you’re asking why someone couldn’t just copy another script, that’s the same question this episode forces you to ask when Melllvar, an all-powerful being, can’t materialize another fan script. 

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 64: The Why of Fry

NEXT – Episode 66: The Sting

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.