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.

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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 – S6E1 “Rebirth”

The Planet Express crew manages to get back on the air. 

SUMMARY

After entering the wormhole at the end of the last movie, the crew emerges in the “Panama Wormhole,” Earth’s main shipping channel. Zapp Brannigan (Billy West) is still chasing the Planet Express ship. The ships both crash causing a massive explosion that nobody seems to survive except for the Professor (West) who was in a safety sphere and Fry (West), who appears unharmed aside from electrical burns. The rest of the crew are revealed to be just heads on skeletons. The Professor shoves everyone in a rebirthing machine in order to bring them back to life. Everyone seems okay except for Leela (Katey Sagal), who is in a coma. Bender (John DiMaggio) discovers that he has a failing power supply, so the Professor replaces it with a doomsday device. Because the doomsday device output is so large, Bender has to keep partying to burn off the excess or he will die. 

File:Rebirth preview screenshot (skeleton shot).jpg
What is holding those Skeletons together?

Fry, sad because of Leela’s coma, builds a robot version of her. By uploading all of the information about Leela on the Planet Express surveillance, the robot version gains Leela’s memories and personality. Due to not knowing she is a robot, she is horrified when she finds out about the real Leela. After she gets past the existential crisis, she and Fry start to resume the typical Fry/Leela relationship. After the last-ditch effort to wake Leela fails, the crew takes her to be eaten by the wild Cyclophage, a monster that only eats Cyclopes. At the funeral, Bender’s partying is so obnoxious that it wakes Leela up. The Cyclophage attacks, so everyone flees on the ship, with the monster, unseen, holding on to the bottom. 

File:Cyclophage.png
It’s like Mother Brain from Metroid, a frequently rebooted series.

Back on Earth, Fry and the two Leelas try to reconcile their issues, but a fight ensues. Amy (Lauren Tom) gives Fry a gun to shoot one of them, for some reason, but Fry shoots himself by accident. He is revealed to also be a robot. It turns out that the real Fry had sacrificed himself to protect Leela from the initial crash, allowing her to live through it. The Professor tried to revive him, but failed, so Leela built a robot of Fry to replace him. However, the robot Fry overloaded, shocking her into a skeleton and wiping its memory. At that time, the original Fry revives as well. The two robots leave together and Fry and Leela try to work things out. However, Bender gets angered by all the romance, so he tries to stop partying and overload. One of his eyes falls out just as the Cyclophage comes back. It eats Bender, then explodes, leaving Bender somehow unharmed and back to normal. Everyone parties to celebrate.

END SUMMARY

Following the four films, Futurama was revived by Comedy Central, something that is mentioned in the opening to this episode. Given how often the show took shots at the Fox network’s management, it’s interesting that they never seemed to have the same animosity towards Comedy Central. Maybe it’s because the rules about content are so much looser on cable, but it may also be that Matt Groening and David X. Cohen really didn’t appreciate Fox cancelling their show twice (they changed their mind once) only for it to prove itself as a huge draw on Adult Swim. It probably also ticked them off that Fox didn’t want to revive the show like they revived Family Guy and appreciated that Comedy Central could recognize the fact that Futurama had power in syndication. Whatever they were feeling, the show acknowledges the change, then acknowledges the ending of Into the Wild Green Yonder, then moves on. It’s refreshing that they could so naturally restart the normal formula without just completely ignoring everything that had come before.

The episode manages to combine the show rebooting with the characters literally rebooting and being reborn. I appreciate that they never pretend that there’s going to be a major overhaul of anything in the series despite the fact that the majority of the characters are dead at the beginning of the episode. It’s basically assured from the moment that we find that out that they are all going to come back, and the show uses that to surprise us with the reveal of the Robot Fry. It’s a very Futurama twist. 

Overall, I thought this episode was a solid return to form and it gave me hope that the show would produce some more of the quality episodes that it had previously. While I don’t think they ever quite matched “Godfellas,” many of these episodes were excellent. 

FAVORITE JOKE

My favorite joke has to be Studio 1²2¹3³. A lot of the staff on Futurama love math jokes, as do I, and this is a simple but fun one. 1^2 * 2^1 * 3^3 = 1*2*27 = 54. In other words, they’re at Studio 54, the famous nightclub, explaining why Bender is dressed in John Travolta’s outfit from Saturday Night Fever. The deeper layer to this joke is that Studio 54 was originally a TV studio which ran from 1943 to 1975. After CBS sold it, it was reborn as Studio 54, a nightclub that was the hottest thing in New York for a few years until the people that ran it, Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager, got arrested for tax fraud, which heralded its demise. However, it was eventually reborn (Oh, now I get it!) in 1998 as a theatre on Broadway. 

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 76: Into the Wild Green Yonder

NEXT – Episode 78: In-A-Gadda-Da-Leela

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.