Futurama Fridays – S6E5 “The Duh-Vinci Code”

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

SUMMARY

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

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

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

S6E5 - 2Animatronio
HI ANIMATRONIO!!!!

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

END SUMMARY

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

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

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

FAVORITE JOKE

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

S6E5 - 4Math
Math! It’s FUN-damental.

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Futurama Fridays – S6E4 “Proposition Infinity”

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

SUMMARY

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

S6E4 - 1Circusitis
Meanwhile, Hermes deals with Circusitis.

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

END SUMMARY

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

S6E4 - 2Chart

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

FAVORITE JOKE

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

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

See you next week, meatbags.

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NEXT – Episode 81: The Duh-Vinci Code

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Futurama Fridays – S6E3 “Attack of the Killer App”

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

SUMMARY

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

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

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

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

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

END SUMMARY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FAVORITE JOKE

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

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

Mom responds with:

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

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

See you next week, meatbags.

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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

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Futurama Fridays – S5 Movie 4 “Into the Wild Green Yonder”

Fry finds out that he’s the chosen one yet again as Leela tries to save the environment.

REVIEW

This is my favorite of the four Futurama films. It’s got a ton of fun subplots, a lot of memorable jokes, and some creative visuals. The thing that holds it back the most is that it is essentially repeating the same plot idea of Fry being the Chosen One from “The Why of Fry.” Just like in that episode, Fry’s secret ability is his imperviousness to mind-reading, which likely derives from his being his own grandfather. The main thing this film does right is that it somehow builds up the connection between Fry and Leela throughout the story without having a lot of specifically romantic moments. Instead, it focuses on each of them doing the right thing to their own sense of morality and shows us that ultimately they both want to help each other, they both trust each other, and they’re both good people even if they aren’t always the smartest. Ken Keeler wrote the original finale in which Fry and Leela are implied to finally realize their feelings, but it was still nice to see them explicitly admit their love in this one.

File:Nibbler's shadow in ItWGY.png
Nibbler’s Shadow Throwback. Love it.

The main thing I loved about this film was that all of the subplots and threads got adequate coverage and they all ended up playing in with each other, something that the show had sometimes struggled with. It just was well-done all around.

FAVORITE JOKES

Here are the top 3.

  1. Bender winning the poker tournament

Bender somehow wins the poker game by having a coaster dealt to him which contains the “King of Beers” logo on it. It’s even lampshaded by the commentators that it somehow counts, despite all logic. I just find it ridiculous that Bender’s luck apparently extends to bending the rules of poker.

S5E4 - 1Poker
This is also the most improbable poker hand ever.

      2. The Striped Biologist Taunter

One of the extinct species contained within the Encyclopod is a species called the Striped Biologist Taunter. First, the name indicates there are multiple species of Biologist Taunters. Second, the species’s call is apparently “What are you gonna do, shoot us?” Third, they naturally evolved bullseyes, and that’s hilarious to me.

File:Striped biologist-taunters.png
Biologists have their limits. 

      3. The Moon Landing

When Fry reads Richard Nixon’s thoughts, it’s revealed that the US faked the moon landing, but they did so on Venus. Given just how hard it is to land an object on Venus compared to the moon, it’s amazing to think of trying to fake a moon landing there. It just brings up so many more questions than it answers. 

SUMMARY

Out in space, a green wave brings life to a barren system with a violet dwarf star. On Mars, Leo Wong (Billy West) destroys a massive oasis and a habitat of the Martian Muck Leeches while trying to build “New Mars Vegas.” Leela (Katey Sagal) saves one of the leeches, which continually sucks blood from her. At an environmental protest, Frida Waterfall (Phil Hendrie), of the Waterfall family, ends up embedding her necklace in Fry’s (West) head accidentally after Leo tries to blow up the protestors. Leo gives Fry an entry chip to a poker tournament to keep him from suing. Leela supports the protestor, but Leo says he hired Professor Farnsworth (West) to do an environmental survey… which Leo is paying him to botch. Fry begins to hear people’s thoughts due to the necklace in his skull. He starts to go crazy until he meets a homeless man named Hutch (Hendrie) who gives Fry a tinfoil hat and reveals that he, too, can read minds. However, he is shocked to find that he can’t read Fry’s mind. 

File:Chi.png
Green energy caused life. I buy it.

Back in New Mars Vegas, Bender (John DiMaggio) and the Robot Mafia are at the same theater and Bender hooks up with the Donbot’s (Maurice LaMarche) wife, Fanny (Tress MacNeille). Bender enters into the same poker tournament as Fry. Fry uses his mind-reading to cheat while Bender relies on luck from him being made up of 40% horseshoes, having the Donbot’s lucky foot as provided by Fanny, and stepping on a leprechaun. Bender and Fry make it to the final table and Fry gets four aces, but Bender somehow gets five kings, winning the tournament. However, this alerts the Donbot to Bender’s affair with Fanny, so the Robot Mafia drive the pair into the desert and shoot them. This is revealed to be a warning in Robot terms.

File:Leprechauns.png
Wasn’t lucky for the Leprechaun. 

Leo, Leela, and Amy (Lauren Tom) are playing miniature golf. Leela complains about Leo’s sexism and mistreatment of the environment. Leo reveals that he’s building a giant miniature golf course with colossal holes. Leo plans to destroy a chunk of the galaxy to build it, including the violet dwarf system. Despite it having life on it, Farnsworth writes an environmental survey allowing Leo to destroy it. The environmental feminist protestors, or Feministas, go to protest at Leo’s club along with Leela, but end up accidentally killing the headless body of Agnew. Leela and the Feministas are declared outlaws and subsequently dedicate themselves to sabotaging Leo Wong. They use the muck leech as a mascot.

File:Itwgypart2.jpg
They’re super stylish.

Fry gets abducted and introduced to the Legion of Mad Fellows, led by the Number 9 Man (David Herman). The Number 9 Man explains that the green wave is Chi, the thing that started all life in the universe. Chi previously had waned, but the presence of it in the violet dwarf system means that a new age is coming and Fry is the one who is supposed to guide it. Fry takes a job for Leo in order to spy on him.  The Feministas keep gaining support, to the point that Leo asks Zapp Brannigan (West) to track them down. Bender agrees to help him for money. Farnsworth, Hermes (Phil LaMarr), and Zoidberg (West) get hijacked by the Feministas. Frida is killed by a mysterious “dark one.” 

File:Legionofmadfellows.jpg
These are the people saving the universe.

Fry is abducted again and informed that there was once an evolutionary arms race between the Dark Ones, who seek to destroy life, and the “Encyclopods,” the preservers of all life. After Chi subsided, the Encyclopods died out, but the violet dwarf star is actually an Encyclopod egg that they can hatch. However, a Dark One is going to try and destroy it. Since the Dark One’s thoughts are unreadable, but they can read minds, Fry is the only one who might be able to stop it. Fry gets a call from Leela and they arrange to meet, but Bender has leaked the location to Zapp. Zapp chases after the Feministas, who manage to narrowly escape thanks to Amy’s mini-golf expertise… until they’re caught anyway. The Feministas are convicted and put in prison. 

File:SnakeAndFrog.jpg
One of these things becomes a giant space thing. The other, a leech. 

With the Feministas gone, Fry seeks the Mad Fellows to help stop Leo. They give him the “Omega Device,” the only thing that can stop the Dark One if activated within a few feet of it. Fry and Hutch come up with a plan to find the Dark One at Leo’s ceremony to destroy the Violet Dwarf Star. Bender breaks the Feministas out of prison because it makes him public enemy number one again. They are helped by the Professor, Hermes, and Zoidberg who have joined their side. At Leo’s demolition, Fry searches for a person with unreadable thoughts and finds no one, except himself. Based on that, Fry concludes that HE is the Dark One, so he activates the Omega Device to kill himself. It does nothing to him, but kills the Martian Muck Leech, who is revealed to be the Dark One. As he dies he kills Hutch, revealed to be Frida’s lost brother, as Hutch pulls out Frida’s necklace and removes Fry’s powers. The Violet Dwarf hatches and the Encyclopod emerges. Zapp resumes his pursuit of the Feministas, but they escape in the Planet Express ship. Fry and Leela admit they love each other just as the ship goes into the wormhole, creating the opening for Futurama

END SUMMARY

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 75: Bender’s Game

NEXT – Episode 77: Rebirth

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 – S4 Movie 3 “Bender’s Game”

Futurama meets D&D years before Rick and Morty would try to do the same.

REVIEW

This is my least favorite of the four films based solely on the fact that I don’t think they spent enough time on the fantasy world to justify it as a subplot. It’s like one-third of the film and the time crunch requires them to blow through a lot of Lord of the Rings jokes a bit too quickly. Don’t tell me they couldn’t think of other fantasy gags, they barely even dipped into making any actual Dungeons and Dragons references. 

File:Cave of Hopelessness.png
Although I’m sure plenty of people have run D&D campaigns in tunnels.

It doesn’t help that the rest of the plot seems largely to be filler. Leela’s shock collar was apparently just an excuse to get her to say swears that could be censored by the collar. Igner being Farnsworth’s son seems pretty logical within the series, it’s just odd that it wasn’t revealed until now, when the character is in his 30s and has repeatedly interacted with Farnsworth. Mom having captured the Nibblonians, including Nibbler, seems to be random, given that the Nibblonians have an unknown home planet, physics-defying abilities, and superior technology. I do appreciate the commentary on business monopolization, but it still feels like they never quite focused on anything long enough to make it feel important.

File:CrapFarm.jpg
The Nibblonians couldn’t get out of a literal crap farm?

Still, it’s got some good moments and it actually set up a number of things that would play out during the new series of Futurama

FAVORITE JOKE

There’s a few good ones:

  1. Eating Munchkin

“Care for a slice of Scroto?”

“That’s his name, right?”

“‘Tis also that, sir.”

Image result for slice of scroto
This is how Disenchantment started.

      2.  Roberto’s Madness.

“The king went insane and declared war on the scallops. Tied his army to a boulder and pushed them into the sea. They never returned. Scallops must’ve got them.”

Image result for roberto benders game
He has a hotel in his foot.

     3. George Takei destroying Scott Bakula’s ship and saying “way to kill the franchise.”

As someone who lived through the 90s, I remember when Star Trek came back with The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager… then when it fell apart with Enterprise. Not that it was that bad, but it had some issues. 

File:Bender's Game part 1.jpg

Sulu commands your respect!

SUMMARY

Cubert (Kath Soucie) and Dwight (Phil LaMarr) and two other kids are playing Dungeons and Dragons because they’re nerds. Bender (John DiMaggio) walks in and doesn’t understand how it works, revealing he has no imagination. On a delivery, Bender complains to Fry (Billy West), who tells him to try imagining something. They get interrupted by the ship running out of fuel. Leela (Katey Sagal) pulls into a gas station run by Mom (Tress MacNeille) where dark matter prices have skyrocketed. While refueling, the ship is mocked by Sal (DiMaggio), a trucker who brags about being a demolition derby champ. Despite Farnsworth (West) cracking down on fuel waste, Leela steals the ship to go to the demolition derby. She ends up winning, though the ship is badly damaged. As punishment for her anger issues, Hermes (LaMarr) gives her a shock collar. 

File:Mombil.jpg
Some satire is less subtle. 

Bender goes to play D&D and eventually discovers he has an imagination, making a character named “Titanius Anglesmith, Fancy Man of Cornwood.” Unfortunately, activating his imagination makes Bender lose his grip on reality and start believing he actually is a knight. He goes on a rampage while Zoidberg (West) forces Leela to have dinner with her parents to work on her anger issues. They reveal that they believe Leela does have anger issues, even though she says it’s just that she hates Zoidberg. Bender attacks the restaurant, but Fry roleplays a wizard and disables him. Bender is sent to the HAL Institute from “Insane in the Mainframe.” He fails to respond to any treatment and is set to be lobotomized. 

File:Cubert's Friends.png
That’s a neat DM Screen.

Mom goes on television to talk about the dark matter shortage, but after she goes off the air she immediately reveals that there is no shortage, she just has monopolized the supply and lied about it to drive up fuel prices. The Professor reveals that he had developed dark matter fuel for Mom through a botched experiment that produced a crystal that enabled dark matter combustion throughout the universe. He also reveals that there is a second crystal which, if it were to come in proximity of the original, would render all dark matter inert, but he lost it. It turns out that it’s the twenty-sided die used by the boys for D&D, though the Professor doesn’t know that. The Professor activates a device that makes the crystal emit a foul odor so he can find it, but this also alerts Mom to its presence. She sends Walt, Larry, and Igner (Maurice LaMarche, David Herman, and DiMaggio), her three Stooge-like sons to get the crystal. They’re immediately thwarted by Farnsworth, who finds the “anti-backwards crystal.”

File:Bender's Game Part 2.png
Dodecahedrons rule the world. 

With the anti-backwards crystal in their possession, the crew heads to Mom’s dark matter mine fortress to destroy the dark matter crystal so that Mom will lose her stranglehold on fuels. Mom sends Walt and Larry to stop them with an army of killbots, but doesn’t send Igner because of a dark secret that she tells the other two. Igner overhears it, as well. The crew uses a distraction to avoid the killbots and sneak in. They find that Mom has captured all of the Nibblonians (Frank Welker) and is force-feeding them to produce dark matter from their poop. Igner betrays his mom and leads the crew to the control room. Farnsworth almost gets the crystals close enough to touch, but he ends up screwing it up. The presence of the two crystals make all dark matter in the universe glow, including a huge amount inside of Bender, which combines with his imagination to transport himself and the cast to “Cornwood,” the fantasy land he imagined. 

File:Frydo and Leegola.jpg
Leela’s boots didn’t make it.

Leela is now Leegola the centaur, Fry is now Frydo the guy who has the “Die of Power,” and Bender is the knight Titanius Anglesmith. The “Die of Power” is the anti-backwards crystal which casts magic spells when rolled. They meet the great wizard Greyfar (Farnsworth) who tells them that Momon (Mom) forged the Dice of Power and it can only be destroyed by throwing it into the molten plastic that made it. They set out to destroy the die and meet Hermaphrodite (an intersex Hermes), another centaur. It’s revealed that centaurs are mighty archers, but also pacifists, to Leegola’s annoyance. The group, sans Hermaphrodite, heads to the Cave of Hopelessness where they meet Gynecaladriel (Amy as played by Lauren Tom), queen of the “Water Nymphos,” as well as a monstrous Zoidberg, who Leegola brutally murders, only to find out he wasn’t going to hurt them. She vows to be a pacifist and joins the other centaurs. Frydo defeats the Tunneling Horror using the Die of Power, but becomes a Gollum-like creature obsessed with the die. Momon’s armies arrive to attack them and the group tries to gather an army at the Wipe Castle.

File:Titanius.jpg
Titanius Anglesmith, Fancy Man of Cornwood.

Frydo goes crazy and tries to kill Titanius, but fails and runs off. The rest of the group gets to Wipe Castle, only to find that the king, Roberto (Herman), is insane and killed the entire army. Momon’s army attacks the castle and quickly gain the upper hand until Leegola and the centaurs show up and quickly win the fight. Leegola had beaten up Hermaphrodite rather than debate the merits of violence. As a reward for helping them win, Gynaecaladrial kisses Leegola. Frydo makes his way to the “Geysers of Gygax” where the die can be destroyed, and the group agrees to help him destroy the dice after they finish watching Gynaecaladrial and Leegola kiss. Frydo fights Momon but ends up losing after the rest of the gang becomes trapped on a bridge. Greyfarn discovers that he is the father of Momon’s youngest son, Ignus (Igner), but Momon obtains the die and ends the fantasy world. 

File:Momon.PNG
Also, there are dragons in a dungeon.

Back in the real world, Farnsworth says that Bender’s imagination was boosted by the dark matter and created an alternate reality. Farnsworth asks to hug his son, Igner, but they reveal that they’d both swallowed the two crystals, and their hug puts the crystals in close enough proximity to render dark matter inert. The crew then leaves by having the freed Nibblonians pull the ship. 

END SUMMARY

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 74: Beast with a Billion Backs

NEXT – Episode 76: Into the Wild Green Yonder

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.