Futurama Fridays – S6E13 “The Futurama Holiday Spectacular”

A trio of tales of holiday not-so-fun from the cast of Futurama

SUMMARY

There are three different segments to this episode.

First, it’s Xmas and the crew are preparing to deal with the attack of Robot Santa Claus (John DiMaggio). Fry (Billy West) feels depressed that Xmas has changed, but can’t quite figure out what he misses. Santa then shows up and attacks the crew while singing a song about Christmas Trees. The Professor (West) takes the crew to the Svalbard seed vault to get Pine Tree seeds in order to try and revive the extinct species. They get the seeds, but it turns out they’ve been contaminated by the nearby Germ Warfare Repository. Fry plants it anyway and it grows until Richard Nixon (West) steals it and plants it on the White House lawn. When it is lit, the tree grows enormous and starts to sprout explosive pine cones. Each cone makes a ton of trees which continue the process until trees are everywhere, making the Earth oxygen-rich. Bender (DiMaggio) promptly ignites the atmosphere and kills everyone. Merry Xmas!

Welcome to the greeting card season.

After Xmas is over, the crew are destroying undelivered gifts, but Bender complains that people ignore the Robot Holidays, like Robanukah, meaning he has to work. In song, Bender tells them that Robanukah needs petroleum oil in order to hold a fembot wrestling match. After it’s determined that the Earth is out of oil (after Bender oils the fembots up for a month), Bender has the Professor build a drill to get to the center of the Earth for more oil. After dealing with an albino humping worm, the drill gets crushed by pressure. Bender, the only survivor, amuses himself by singing for five hundred million years, discovering that the crew has become petroleum oil. He heads back to the surface, but finds that the fembots are still wrestling without the oil, an apparent Robanukah miracle.

The building managed to age pretty well.

Hermes (Phil LaMarr) invites the crew over to celebrate Kwanzaa. At the dinner table, Zoidberg (West) asks about Kwanzaa, leading Kwanzaabot (Coolio) to show up and sing about it, but also to advise them that they need real beeswax candles. Due to colony collapse, the Earth no longer has bees so they head to the Space Bee hive. Unfortunately, the space bees are suffering from parasites that make them racist, so Hermes uses the principles of Kwanzaa to help the Queen save the hive. He succeeds, but that just unites the bees against people, leading the bees to make the crew into candles.

Jesus, this is nightmare fuel.

Also, everything was sponsored by Gunderson’s nuts. 

END SUMMARY

This is usually considered one of the worst episodes of Futurama and I am sad to say that it is earned. I don’t actually know if this is the worst episode, but it’s in my bottom five for sure. A big part of it is that it’s a holiday special that is based around creatively killing off all of the main characters in each story, something that never feels right. Killing off the entire cast of a comedy show can be hilarious (ask Blackadder), but none of these are particularly funny. They’re either too sudden or too disturbing to be funny, or both. The running gag of being sponsored by a nut company isn’t much better.

We get it, old specials had sponsors.

While the idea of having a song for each of the holidays isn’t bad in itself, the songs aren’t particularly funny or entertaining, with the exception of Coolio’s presentation about Kwanzaa. Given that most of Matt Groening’s shows, including this one, have great original songs, the letdown is all the greater.

Overall, this really isn’t that funny, and that’s pretty much the greatest sin the show can commit. 

FAVORITE JOKE

Honestly, I laugh less in this episode than almost any other. I think the only line that always gives me a chuckle is when Kwanzaabot breaks through the wall and Dwight calls him Kool-Aid. However, that might be due to Family Guy doing so many Kool-Aid gags that I honestly just enjoy an animated Kool-Aid reference. \

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 88: The Mutants are Revolting

NEXT – Episode 90: The Silence of the Clamps

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Futurama Fridays – S6E12 “The Mutants are Revolting”

Leela and Fry lead a devolution revolution… featuring DEVO.

SUMMARY

The Planet Express crew are hired for their 100th delivery to the wealthy Mrs. Astor (Tress MacNeille). She invites the crew to a fundraiser for the United Mutant Scholarship Fund, which is revealed to be a way to keep mutants segregated from humanity. When tempers start to flare, Fry (Billy West) accidentally tells the guests that Leela (Katey Sagal) is a mutant living illegally on the surface. In response, she is banished to the sewers. Fry tries to appeal to the city, but accidentally gets the rest of the crew, minus Bender (John DiMaggio), who is throwing an epic party, banished as punishment for harboring Leela. Fry tries to empathize with Leela’s plight now that he’s been in the sewers, but Leela tells him the only way he could understand would be to mutate himself in the toxic lake. He avoids jumping in, angering Leela further.

S6EC - 1100
That’s almost 10 per year, due to cancellations.

While wandering the sewers, the crew finds the wreckage of the Land Titanic, a bus that was designed to be like the Titanic and which sank under the surface. On board, they find a Quantum Force Gemerald which shoots out powerful energy blasts, and a passenger manifest. Fry, unable to sleep due to his fight with Leela, walks into the toxic lake and mutates horribly. Sick of living beneath the ground, Leela organizes a revolt. Fry and Bender bend the West Side Pipeway so that all of the sewage in New New York goes back to the streets. Mayor Poopenmeyer stores all of the sewage in Madison Cube Garden. When Leela leads the mutants to the surface to demand equal rights, Mrs. Astor, a blatant anti-mutant racist, has her butler attack the mob by sending a wave of the sewage. Fry appears and uses the Quantum Gemerald to save the crowd. He then reveals that the passenger list to the Land Titanic included Mrs. Astor’s husband Mr. Astor (Maurice LaMarche) as well as mutants. Leela’s Grandmother appears, revealing that she was on the Land Titanic and that Mr. Astor gave her his seat on the “life car.” This leads Mrs. Astor to ask the mayor to let mutants onto the surface, to which he agrees. Fry and Leela kiss, but Fry suddenly is sheds his mutated outer layer, revealing it to be a mutated Mr. Astor. The crew head home to party and celebrate their hundredth delivery.

S6EC - 2Fry
Fry needs a spa day.

END SUMMARY

This is one of the rare Futurama episodes that actually has long-lasting ramifications on the series. After this episode, mutants stop being restricted to the sewers, so even background shots start featuring them. Honestly, I can’t think of any other episode that so easily divides the series by the events, and that’s including the films. Given that we saw the mutants first in the beginning of Season 2, it’s strange to think that we made it through 3 and a half seasons without seeing any of the non-Turanga mutants on the surface. I guess it made sense to make such a big change on what they consider the 100th episode.

S6EC - 3Pipeway
And they finally reference Fritz Lang’s Metropolis.

This is also one of the many episodes that tackles a social topic, although in this case the metaphor is so broad that it could easily be applied to any number of groups that have been oppressed in the past. The episode references the Million Man March, and the subsequent Million Woman March, with the Million Mutant March, but also references the 1969 Stonewall Riots with the title, as newspapers covered Stonewall with the image of a sign that said “Homosexuals are revolting.” Basically, just a reminder that segregation is segregation and oppression is oppression, no matter what the reason or the group. If we start drawing lines based on race, sexuality, or number of eyes, we are inherently reducing the humanity of someone.

S6EC - 4Revolt
The newspapers mocked this, as you would expect.

The only thing I really don’t like about this episode is that the ending is mostly a bunch of quick coincidences that wrap everything up, rather than someone actually realizing how horrible it is for mutants to be oppressed. Fry ends up being perfectly normal again, Leela’s back on the surface, and all it really took was one rich woman asking the Mayor. They try to sort-of apologize for it by having Zoidberg sarcastically say “Hooray, a happy ending for the rich people,” but it’s still kind of depressing that equality is won by making a single wealthy woman feel empathy, rather than any societal recognition.

S6EC - 5Astors
Hooray, a happy ending for the rich people. 

Overall, though, still a good episode. Also, I love that Devo are presented as mutants.

FAVORITE JOKE

It’s this call and response:

Dwayne the giant head mutant: “Are we not men now?”

Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo: “I’m forty percent potato, but close enough!”

I love this because it’s like four layers of humor. “Are we not men now?” is part of the first Devo album title, Are We Not Men? We Are Devo!. That album’s title comes from Devo’s song “Jocko Homo,” which takes its name from an anti-evolution work in the 1920s and focuses on the idea that humanity is de-evolving, the inspiration for the band’s name. However, “Are we not men?” is taken from the movie Island of Lost Souls, which is an adaptation of H.G. Wells’ The Island of Doctor Moreau. “Are we not men?” is the call and response that the anthropomorphic animals of the island chant when they say what distinguishes them from animals, before ultimately devolving back into them. So, this is drawing a parallel between the concept of man as just an elevated animal and the idea that mutants are just the natural step of humanity after it de-evolves. The next part, “I’m forty percent potato” is just a reference to the fact that Devo’s fans are called “spuds.”

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 87: Lrrreconcilable Ndndifferences

NEXT – Episode 89: The Futurama Holiday Spectacular

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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 – S6E11 “Lrrreconcilable Ndndifferences”

Did we need an episode that is about the marital problems on Omicron Persei 8? Yep.

SUMMARY

Lrrr, Ruler of the Planet Omicron Persei 8 (Maurice LaMarche) is once again fighting with his wife Ndnd (Tress MacNeille); this time it’s over his lack of world-conquering aspirations. He invades Earth, but lands in Comic-Con and is mistaken for a cosplayer. After he fails to conquer anything, Ndnd kicks him out. He heads to the Planet Express building looking for shelter. Suffering from a mid-life crisis, Lrrr gets “horn extensions,” new clothes, and goes out with Bender (John DiMaggio) to a club where he almost hooks up with a young “trans-species” woman named Grrrl (Katee Sackhoff).This leads him to realize that Leela (Katey Sagal) is right and that he needs to get back together with his wife. The Planet Express crew uses the head of Orson Welles (LaMarche) to do a version of War of the Worlds to fool Ndnd into thinking that Lrrr conquered Earth, but accidentally fools Earth into surrendering. 

S6EB - 1Car
Ah, the Midlife Crisis. Truly universal.

In a subplot, Fry (Billy West) attempts to write a comic book, but continually makes the hero character either too overpowered or completely ineffectual. His work is degraded by the entire staff and fails to impress Leela. The only thing people like about it is that it has ads for goofy products in the back, some of which are the Professor’s (West).

S6EB - 2Fry
Still better than Liefeld.

While Lrrr rules over Earth, Leela constantly chides him about being honest with his wife, which leads Ndnd to become suspicious of them. Grrl returns to try and win Lrrr’s affections, but Ndnd zaps Grrl with her own ray gun. Ndnd says that Lrrr sleeping with Grrl doesn’t bother her, but Leela nagging Lrrr does, because that’s a wife’s job. Ndnd challenges Leela to Rrrmrrrmrrrfrrrmrrr or consequences, the Omicronian rite of deciding. Lrrr is given a ray gun and told to shoot one of the women. He ends up firing at Leela, but Fry jumps in the way and gets disintegrated. Ndnd affirms her love for Lrrr because he fired at Leela and they depart. Grrl returns to try again, leading them to realize that the ray gun she brought was just Farnsworth’s teleporter ray, so they find Fry safe, having finally completed his comic book, which Leela thinks is pretty good.

END SUMMARY

Maurice LaMarche does a lot of the heavy lifting in this episode, for which he won an Emmy. Not only does he play Lrrr, but he revives his famous impression of Orson Welles, having previously used it in Pinky and the Brain, Ed Wood, The Critic, and The Simpsons. He’s essentially the go-to Orson Welles voice and, in this episode, he nails it once again when he starts criticizing the script to the fake invasion in the way that Orson Welles famously criticized the Ad Copy for Findus Peas in the 1970s. If you haven’t heard the original, I’m putting it here. It’s absolutely amazing.

This episode mostly benefits from having such a generic A-Plot that they could really play around with it. They end up with a ton of top-tier jokes because of that freedom. An episode based around the Honeymooners-esque Lrrr and Ndnd on the rocks has been done multiple times, but this is the first one where they actually seem to separate, so it’s the first one where we really see how Lrrr is on his own. It turns out that he needs someone to nag him to feel whole. 

S6EB - 3Welles
When you make Citizen Kane, you’re allowed to have high standards.

Overall, it’s a solid episode.

FAVORITE JOKE

Much of the Comic Con of the future could be in here, particularly the fact that multiple characters cosplay as other characters in the show, but the best gag is probably the fake version of Futurama that Matt Groening presents at Comic Con. It’s called “Futurella” and it takes place in the future year of 4000. We find out literally nothing else about it, because Fox cancels it about 10 seconds into the first episode teaser. Groening and the staff can only admire how much Fox has streamlined cancelling TV Shows. They follow this up by mentioning Joss Whedon, because let’s remove all of the subtlety.

S6EB - 4Groening
Groening still takes Simpsons requests harshly. 

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 86: The Prisoner of Benda

NEXT – Episode 88: The Mutants are Revolting

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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 – S6E10 “The Prisoner of Benda”

Futurama actually generates a mathematical theorem for a single plot device.

SUMMARY

Bender (John DiMaggio) finds out that Emperor Nikolai of Robo-Hungary (David Herman) is visiting New York and plans a scheme to rob him involving all of the Planet Express crew. They aren’t interested, but he finds out that Amy (Lauren Tom) and the Professor (Billy West) have built a mind-swapping machine and uses it to put his mind in Amy’s body to do the first part of the heist. The Professor puts his mind in Bender’s body so that he can live out his dream of extreme sports and Amy puts her mind in the Professor’s body so that she can eat without ruining her figure. Leela (Katey Sagal) then switches with Amy so that she can get discount tickets at the movies in the Professor’s body, which leads to Fry (West) finding her unattractive and her accusing him of being shallow. 

S6EA - 1MindSwap
Welcome to PLOT DEVICE!

Bender, in Amy’s body, gets captured by Nikolai, who reveals he wants to be normal. So, after dragging in Zoidberg (West), Fry, and Scruffy’s robot washbucket (Tress MacNeille), Nikolai and Zoidberg (in the Washbucket and Fry) try to be roommates, Fry goes to date Leela as Zoidberg, and Bender becomes Nikolai. Meanwhile, the Professor, in Bender’s body, joins a circus as a stuntman and Amy (in Leela) switches with Hermes (Phil LaMarr) so that she doesn’t wreck Leela’s body with her overeating. Fry and Leela, as Zoidberg and Farnsworth, have a contest to disgust the other… until they end up making out. Bender then gets attacked by Nikolai’s cousin Count Basil (Maurice LaMarche) who is trying to steal the throne. 

S6EA - 2Date
Not the worst date I’ve seen.

Zoidberg and Nikolai blow up Fry and Bender’s apartment, the Washbucket (in Amy) tries to seduce Scruffy (Herman) but is rebuffed, and the Professor uses a cannon to save Bender at the United Nations. After everyone agrees to switch back, the Professor realizes that, due to the machine not allowing people who swapped to swap back directly, he needs help from the Globetrotters to solve the problem using math. They end up solving it and realize that no matter how mixed up the swaps are, they can always get back to normal by adding two more people. Everyone gets back to normal… and Bender realizes that he forgot the crown he stole in Nikolai’s body.

END SUMMARY

This is the only episode of television, to my knowledge, which had a theorem written and published solely for the purpose of resolving the plot and I admire the show immensely for that. The “Futurama Theorem” was developed by writer Ken Keeler, math PhD and massive nerd, and it proves, conclusively, that no matter how many mind switches occur using the mind-switcher in this episode, all parties can be put back in their original bodies using two additional blank people. Essentially, you use the two spare bodies as placeholders for minds while you just change each of the bodies down the line. Keeler also illustrated that, to resolve the situation in the show using the method, you’d only need 13 swaps to get everyone back. Of course, as nerds watch this show, numerous proofs of more efficient paths to solutions have arisen and the Infosphere seems to indicate the minimum number is 9.

S6EA - 3Theorem
Math, it’s FUNdamental.

In terms of humor, this episode does a good job of intertwining all of the plots in a humorous fashion which works perfectly for the theme. I like the Professor’s discussion with Big Bertha in which he offers to put her into a new body which isn’t broken, but she refuses because every scratch on her body is a memory. It’s not exactly a message of “be happy with what you have,” but more saying “don’t forego who you were.” 

S6EA - 4Bertha
Her appearance is canon.

Overall, I think this is a solid episode.

FAVORITE JOKE

In a rarity, I think the best joke in this episode is actually the Title Caption, which reads “What happens in Cygnus X-1, stays in Cygnus X-1.” The structure of the sentence is based on “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” which was itself based on the old musician and professional athlete motto of “what happens on the road/tour, stays on the road/tour.” The gag is that Cygnus X-1 was one of the first sources of X-rays from the Cygnus Constellation, which led to a bet between Stephen Hawking and Nobel Laureate Physicist Kip Thorne over whether or not it was caused by a star becoming a black hole. Ultimately, Hawking lost the bet after it became extremely likely that Cygnus X-1 does contain a black hole. In other words, whatever happens in Cygnus X-1 likely happens inside of the event horizon of a black hole and will not be able to escape (although black holes do emit radiation sometimes).

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 85: A Clockwork Origin

NEXT – Episode 87: Lrrreconcilable Ndndifferences

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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 – S6E9 “A Clockwork Origin”

It turns out that creationism might have a point, just not the one you think.

SUMMARY

Professor Farnsworth (Billy West) discovers that anti-evolution advocates are protesting Cubert’s (Kath Soucie) school. The Professor gets into a fight with the protestors and their head advocate Dr. Banjo (David Herman), a talking orangutan. Banjo makes a claim that if evolution is real, there wouldn’t be a “missing link,” despite the fact that the professor maps out dozens of evolutionary ancestors to modern man. In order to find the “last” missing Link, the Professor and the crew go to Africa and dig, finally finding a new hominid skull. He submits the new “Homo farnsworth” to the museum, only find out that Dr. Banjo is the museum’s curator and that he has used the new hominid to set up a display that “disproves” evolution. The Professor decides that he doesn’t want to live on Earth anymore, so they take him to an asteroid so he can live out the rest of his days in solitude. He uses nanobots to work on detoxifying a pond, but the microscopic robots start evolving into “trilobots” and eat the Planet Express Ship.

S6E9 - 1Dinos
This is actually from the creationist museum in Kentucky.

The crew hide in a nearby cave, but discover that they have no edible food (because they got pineapple on their pizza). They have some dehydrated food, so they run out of the cave to get to the pond, only to find that the trilobots have gone and that there is a metallic jungle which is populated by robotic dinosaurs. Fry (West) is carried off by a robot pterodactyl and the rest are attacked by a roboT-Rex, only to be saved by a massive solar flare that wipes out all of the dinosaurs without hurting the crew or smaller, mammalian robots. The Professor builds a new spaceship out of dino-parts, but they have to wait a day for the solar battery to charge. The next morning, they find that Leela and Amy (Katey Sagal and Lauren Tom) get kidnapped by robot cavemen. Farnsworth makes a slingshot to fight them, but it takes him 12 hours, so they have to wait for the next day to rescue the girls. 

S6E9 - 2Fry
Even Fry admits this is a cool way to die.

Once they awaken, they find that Amy and Leela have already escaped and that the cavemen have evolved into sentient androids. They meet a scientist robot named Dr. Widnar (Tress MacNeille) who is astounded that organic life has evolved. They go to a robot museum, only for the Professor to reveal that he created the first nanobots that evolved into the androids only days ago. He also inadvertently shows her a picture that is almost identical to the one that Dr. Banjo generated using the Homo Farnsworth, leading Dr. Widnar to say that she doesn’t want to live on her planet anymore. The Professor is put on trial for crimes against science, but is acquitted when, after a day of deliberation, the robots evolve beyond the physical plane and stop caring about him. Farnsworth later admits to Banjo that it’s possible some higher being seeded life on Earth. There’s also a B-Plot of Zoidberg (West) trying to parent Cubert, but it’s better to ignore it.

END SUMMARY

This is one of the number of Futurama episodes which were written with a specific agenda in mind, and this episode is sadly still topical. While this story mostly serves as a rejection of the Kansas State Board of Education’s push to teach “intelligent design” and the subsequent “teach the controversy” and “critical analysis of Evolution” movements, it also deals with the anti-intellectualism movement in the US as a whole. As I write this in 2020, we are currently dealing with a number of protests against a science-backed stay-at-home order to deal with the Coronavirus and an almost insane number of people posting proposed “cures” for the disease, including ingesting or inhaling bleach or similar disinfectants. It’s safe to say that anti-science attitudes are still prevalent. 

S6E9 - 3Pasta
The same decision that led to Flying Spaghetti Monster now gets represented by it.

However, ultimately this episode does remind us that the theory of Evolution is not necessarily incompatible with the idea of a higher power, because evolution only tells us how life can become more complex over time and why certain species and mutations have survived. It doesn’t tell us where life came from in the first place (although there are a number of theories on that which do not require the existence of a creator). It also reminds us that anti-intellectualism will always use any further scientific proof to support itself, even if it has to be massively illogical to do it, as best evidenced by Dr. Banjo’s line: 

“Things don’t exist simply because you believe in them. Thus sayeth the Almighty Creature in the Sky!”

Overall, really a solid episode and one that will probably always be relatable.

S6E9 - 4Planet
Yeah, I get it, man.

FAVORITE JOKE

I’m sure most of you are going to think it’s Farnsworth’s extremely mimetic line “I don’t want to live on this planet anymore,” and I was tempted to say that’s it, because that line is so perfect and so relatable that it really does deserve the proliferation that it has gotten. However, having watched this episode repeatedly, the best line for me and the one that absolutely drives me to laugh and cry at the same time is the woman who is leading the anti-evolution protest. 

S6E9 - 5Thinkers
Oh god, it hurts.

Her lines are so perfectly representative of the anti-intellectual mindset that I basically hear it anytime I listen to certain television and radio personalities. 

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 84: That Darn Katz

NEXT – Episode 86: The Prisoner of Benda

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 – S6E8 “That Darn Katz”

Amy finds out that getting her Doctorate is more life threatening than she thought.

SUMMARY

Amy Wong (Lauren Tom) is preparing her doctoral thesis at Mars University. The Professor (Billy West) tells her that she should actually have gotten her doctorate years ago, he just forgot. Despite that, she is still nervous, so the crew take her out drinking. She oversleeps and arrives late, forgetting to put on clothes. She tries to describe her thesis, which is to create energy using the Earth’s rotation, but is repeatedly denigrated by Professor Katz (Maurice LaMarche) and ultimately fails. Back on Earth, Professor Katz’s pet cat has stowed away on the ship. It is quickly loved by the crew, much to the annoyance of Amy, who is allergic, and Nibbler (Frank Welker), who recently told Leela  (Katey Sagal) he wanted to be treated less as a pet and now misses the attention. They decide they might be overthinking, only for the cat to reveal it has hypnotized the crew.

S6E8 - 1Cats
They are fairly adorable, so I get it.

The cat summons other cats from a planet of cats, and soon the crew starts to conduct secret plans away from Amy and Nibbler. They head to Mars University to investigate Professor Katz, only to find out that the cat was actually Katz, operating a human as a puppet. They return to Earth and find out that the cats have implemented Amy’s doctoral thesis and have captured the Earth’s rotational energy. They are confronted by Katz the cat, who explains that all cats have come from planet Thuban 9, which was originally slowing down due to loss of rotational energy. They came to Earth and built a giant antenna (the Great Pyramid of Giza) to siphon off some of Earth’s energy, but then became domesticated and forgot how to engineer. Amy is furious that Katz failed her and then stole her idea, but he responds “Welcome to Academia.” The mechanism is then activated, and Earth stops rotating in order to start Thuban.

S6E8 - 2Pyramid
Poor cold camels.

The cats depart and the Planet Express crew return to normal. They determine that they can’t move the Earth’s rotational energy back. As half of the Earth starts to burn and the other to freeze, Amy realizes there is a solution: She just increases the rotation in the other direction. Earth rotates backwards, Thuban stops, and the day is saved. Amy graduates, only to be told that the job market is “rough.” 

END SUMMARY

I admit that I don’t think too much of this episode, but it’s not really that bad either when I rewatch it. The premise is weird, even for Futurama, and doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense, even for Futurama. The idea of Amy being a doctoral candidate has not really been touched on much before now, particularly given that she routinely is shown to not be studying. Since she’d been a student at Mars University since the show began, it was kind of impossible for that not to be the case, though. Still, it feels unusual to have Amy being a Ph.D., perhaps even moreso because she’s an engineering student… which is not typically something that requires a doctorate to begin with (although I have friends who have them). Usually the point of an engineering degree is that you can just get work with the Bachelor’s Degree.

S6E8 - 3Doctor
Still, she’s now Doctor Wong forever.

This is really just a traditional off-the-wall Futurama episode. It’s not got much emotional appeal, but it has more gags and one-liners than many other episodes. It’s also nice to give Amy some more character development that doesn’t revolve around her relationships. Additionally, Nibbler gets to be a deuteragonist in an episode that isn’t about Fry being chosen or the flying brains. It gives us a little bit of the stuff we don’t get as often, and I appreciate that.

FAVORITE JOKE

Honestly, its everything related to Professor Shpeekenshpell. The idea of a sophisticated robot who runs on a Speak’n’Spell is funny enough, but they manage to use it perfectly. The first thing he says is that the cow says moo, something that apparently he proved once and then coasted on forever. The second time, it’s to say Bah at Amy using a sheep. The third time, when all of the people are voting Nay, he selects a horse and then subverts it with:

“The Horse says: Doctorate Denied.” 

The last time is a final appearance to tell Amy that the job market, is, as the dog says, “Ruff.” 

Honestly, I just love that they made 4 solid jokes off of this premise. 

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 83: The Late Philip J. Fry

NEXT – Episode 85: A Clockwork Origin

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Futurama Fridays – S6E7 “The Late Philip J. Fry”

Fry, Bender, and Professor Farnsworth unexpectedly get blown into the even farther future with no way to return.

SUMMARY

Fry (Billy West) keeps showing up late to work and dates with Leela (Katey Sagal), resulting in both the Professor (West) and Leela getting frustrated with his behavior. Fry promises to make up for being late to Leela’s birthday lunch by taking her to a fancy dinner, despite it being the same night as Hedonism Bot’s (Maurice LaMarche) bachelor party. On the way to his date with Leela, Fry is grabbed by the Professor and, along with Bender (John DiMaggio), forced to test the Professor’s one-way time machine. He tries to record a birthday message for Leela as the Professor moves them one minute into the future, but the Professor trips and sends them to the year 10,000 AD, where the world has clearly been destroyed. Fry drops the message card.

S6E7 - 1Card
The card was a curious pussycat card. Very cute.

The Professor points out that his time machine can’t go backwards, but they could just go forward in time until someone else invents a time machine that can. They jump forward in time, repeatedly encountering insane civilizations, but can’t find anyone who built a backwards time machine. They reach the year Five Million where the superintelligent population believes they can, but they’re destroyed by the Dumblocks. The year Ten Million has the machines enslaving mankind, to Bender’s delight, and the year Fifty Million has the world populated almost entirely by beautiful women who have a time machine. After the women offer to sleep with Fry and Professor, Bender activates the machine out of spite. This leads to a fight while the machine is active, sending the trio to the year One Billion, where all life has ceased on Earth and possibly the universe. 

S6E7 - 2Future
When women run the world, everything is better. #Feminism.

Meanwhile, Leela believes that Fry stood her up to go to Hedonismbot’s party, which resulted in a massive explosion. It’s believed that Fry, Bender, and the Professor are dead. Twenty years later, the company has become successful and Leela dates Cubert (Kath Soucie), but twenty years after that they’re divorced. In 3050, Leela is hit by the birthday message that Fry was recording when the machine went off, revealing that he hadn’t been responsible for missing the date. Leela realizes that she spent 40 years being mad at him for something that wasn’t his fault, so she goes to the cavern where they were going to have dinner and shoots a message into the ceiling. After a billion years of dripping, Fry sees the message in the cave, telling him that Leela missed him and that she loved their time together. 

S6E7 - 3Dinner
She got stood up at Elzar’s, which is doubly fancy and hurtful.

Fry, the Professor, and Bender get into the time machine and decide to just watch the universe end, but to their surprise, after the Big Crunch comes a second Big Bang. The crew watch the formation of the universe, the Earth, the Moon, the extinction of the dinosaurs, and the formation of humanity (stopping to kill Hitler). As they are about to reach the time they left, Farnsworth trips AGAIN, and they end up going to 10,000 AD again. So, they ride the time machine through the universe dying and being reborn yet again, this time ending at the right time… but finding out that this universe is 10 feet lower than the last one, resulting in the machine crushing this universe’s versions of the trio. Fry runs to meet Leela and Bender buries the bodies of the duplicates. 

END SUMMARY

This is an interesting episode of Futurama, particularly when you realize that the show has already done multiple “classic” time travel stories, including the movie Bender’s Big Score. In this story, the crew can only go forward in time (but not space… relative to the movement of the Earth), which gives us a hilarious snapshot of all of the various futures to the tune of the song “In the Year 2525,” including a future where the world is frozen and people ride seals, a future based on the game Joust featuring Ostrich Knights, a future where a giant shrimp lures people with a hillbilly merman, and a future where the world is now enslaved by giraffes who eat all the leaves. I like the idea that humanity just perpetually destroys itself and rebuilds, because it is simultaneously depressing as hell that we never stop wrecking Earth and uplifting that we never stop going forward. I also believe that the reason life in the Universe is stopped at year One Billion is because life has evolved beyond the traditional universe at that point, because otherwise it’s weird that life is apparently gone everywhere. 

S6E7 - 4OneBillion
I mean, even the grass is gone… though that might have been the cows.

The concept of the cyclical universe is particularly interesting, because that had been proposed as a model for the universe for much of the last century. Under the original “Big Bang” model, gravity is going to perpetually oppose the expansive motion of all of the particles in the universe, because every particle in the universe is gravitationally attracted to all of the other particles, albeit to an extremely small degree.  Eventually, gravity would halt the expansion, cause a retraction, and the universe would collapse back in on itself… which would put us back at the singularity that led to the Big Bang. Sadly, this has probably stopped being as viable of a model following the Nobel Prize-winning revelation that the universe’s expansion is actually still accelerating… which came to be accepted about a year after this episode aired. The concept that time itself is cyclical still gets debated by the fandom, though. Either way, it’s a fun idea for the episode. 

S6E7 - 5Bang
Big Bang 2: Electric Boogaloo

Aside from the premise, I have to say that the writing on Leela in this episode, while brief, is amazingly well-done. When she breaks down at the revelation that everything she’s done for the last four decades has been based on a mistake, it’s incredibly powerful, as is the revelation of her love message to Fry. It’s up there on my list of best Futurama moments. 

S6E7 - 6Message
I’m not crying, my eyes just have tears flowing out. 

Overall, just a solid episode.

FAVORITE JOKE

There are a number of great tributes to time-travel films and novels in this episode, ranging from jumping one minute to the future like the original test of the DeLorean in Back to the Future to a future where humanity is split between the primitive and intelligent, as in the original The Time Machine by H.G. Wells. However, the best one, for me, is from a movie that doesn’t usually get grouped as a time-travel film series: The Planet of the Apes. When Fry emerges in the future, he mimics Charlton Heston’s famous scene at the end of the film when he sees the broken statue of liberty… followed by a number of duplicate statues, saying:

No! They did it! They blew it up! And then the apes blew up their society too. How could this happen? And then the birds took over and ruined their society. And then the cows. And then… … I don’t know, is that a slug, maybe? Noooo!

S6E7 - 7Statutes
I think the most recent one might be starfish?

I find this especially funny because cows are extinct in the year 3000, so I have no idea how they took over the future.

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 82: Lethal Inspection

NEXT – Episode 84: That Darn Katz!

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.