Futurama Fridays – S7E21 ”Assie Come Home”

So it’s come to this: An episode about Bender’s backside.

SUMMARY

Farnsworth (Billy West) sends the crew on a weapons delivery to the gang planet Peoples α. Fry (West) and Leela (Katey Segal) sabotage the guns, surviving a gang war between the Blips and the Cruds, only to find that thieves have stolen Bender’s (John DiMaggio) body while they were gone. Now he’s just eyes and a mouth. Bender’s tracking system takes them to a chop shop, who provides a list of all of the people who bought Bender’s body parts. The crew proceeds to work on tracking them down, including finding a card shark cheating at poker with Bender’s arms and that Hedonismbot used Bender’s antenna for unspeakable acts that don’t really seem to bother Bender all that much. The only part they can’t find is Bender’s ass plate. 

These are the blips. Or the cruds. Either way, they got eaten by spiders.

It turns out Bender’s backside was on a spaceship that crashed against an asteroid in the Sargaseous Sea (which is actually a nebula). The cloud is so dense that ships usually can’t navigate it. Leela manages to find the nebula’s failing lighthouse, whose keeper, Tarquin (David Herman), assists the crew in recovering the ass plate. They soon discover that Bender’s ass is so shiny that it’s the only thing that can illuminate the nebula. Pointing out that it’ll save countless lives, Bender leaves his butt behind. While Bender starts to move on, the plate, which has a hindbrain, decides to return to Bender. The two are happily brought back together. 

Can we show this on television?

END SUMMARY

This is literally an episode about finding Bender’s shiny metal ass. I admit that some of the gags, mostly about finding Bender’s other body parts, are pretty funny, but overall I think it was going to be hard to make a good episode that seems to be entirely built around a title pun. It really hit home when, as the ass is (somehow) flying through space, it saves little Timmy (actually Johnny) who is caught in a gravity well, leading someone to actually say “thank you, Assie.” It hurt me on the inside parts.

Maybe put a grate over the gravity well?

This episode probably came about because this seemed like the time that the show was really going to end, so they wanted to do an episode about each of the characters. Since Bender has been the focus of so many episodes prior to this, they likely didn’t have anything else they really wanted to explore, so they were stuck doing an episode based on “bite my shiny metal ass,” revealing that Bender’s ass is the shiniest thing in the universe. Of course, this stands in direct contrast to the literal first response to that phrase “it doesn’t seem that shiny,” as well as a number of other episodes, but whatever. 

Asteroids are not ever this close.

Overall, I think this was my least favorite of the episodes remaining, so it’s all good now.

FAVORITE JOKE

Here are three, only because I don’t like any of them enough to make them the winner:

3) Hedonismbot is a Senator

When they recover Bender’s antenna, Leela addresses Hedonismbot as Senator, revealing that a robot who lives to engage in debauchery is electable. Of course, reality told us this already.

2) Bender is a monster

When recovering his legs, Bender discovers that they’ve been given to Tinny Tim, the orphan robot, to replace his missing ones. Bender then not only steals his legs back, but also steals the skateboard that Tim used to get around.

1) I think of robot eels

The name of Tarquin’s boat is “Flotsam and Jetson,” a combination of the terms “Flotsam and Jetsam” (debris that was lost accidentally and debris that was intentionally thrown overboard) and the Jetsons. However, Flotsam and Jetsam were the names of the eels used by Ursula in The Little Mermaid, so this pun always makes me think of robot eels, which would indeed be electric eels.

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 122: Calculon 2.0

NEXT – Episode 124: Leela and the Genestalk

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Futurama Fridays – S7E20 “Calculon 2.0”

Calculon is back from the dead just in time to ruin all of acting.

SUMMARY

It’s been a year since Calculon (Maurice LaMarche) killed himself trying to win an acting contest in “The Thief of Baghead.” Fry (Billy West) and Bender (John DiMaggio) hate his replacement on the show All My Circuits, so they decide to bring Calculon back from the dead. Bender exhumes his body and the pair get Calculon’s soul back from the Robot Devil (Dan Castellaneta), who has been driven nuts by Calculon’s presence. The Professor (West) and the cast bring him back successfully, but Calculon finds that he has not been missed. In fact, the network doesn’t want him back on television. He tries to win the audiences back by performing a one-man show, but it fails horribly. Depressed, Calculon decides to give up acting. 

Celebrity robot hell apparently doesn’t exist.

As he starts his new life of normality, he reflects humbly upon his mistakes and his delivery actually moves Leela (Katey Sagal), who hates his acting normally, to tears. She realizes that Calculon is showing real emotion for the first time, rather than his hammy overacting, and she tells him that if he could keep this going, he could actually be a great actor. He auditions for a bit part on the show, which turns out to be his old role. On set, Calculon quickly goes back to his old hammy ways, sabotaging a scene in which he is supposed to kill himself. Leela, enraged, yells at him and, depressed again, Calculon gives a moving and sincere performance, revealing his identity, before the roof collapses and kills him again. He is remembered now as a great actor, but is now torturing the robot damned with his ego again.

END SUMMARY

This episode mostly feels unnecessary. Calculon had a funny send-off that highlighted the character’s ironic inability to act and this episode just kind of does that again. However, it also undoes the previous joke that Calculon was actually a respected actor and a success despite his complete lack of talent. Apparently now that he’s dead almost everyone just decides immediately that he was a crappy actor. It just kind of feels forced. 

With a lot of throwbacks to past episodes, it does feel like a final send-off, though.

The thing that this episode does well, though, is the first act when they’re resurrecting Calculon. The Professor’s “process” for bringing Calculon back is hilariously depicted as a clear Satanic ritual, including sacrificing a goat, playing a recording backwards (which says “rise in the name of Satan”), and forming a pentagram. Despite this, the Professor constantly defends that it is purely scientific, even as the evidence that it’s basically insane mysticism mounts. 

Solid scientific methodology.

Overall, aside from a few moments, it’s just not a great episode.

FAVORITE JOKE

Calculon’s one-man show is called HAL 9000 and is a clear parody of the play Mark Twain Tonight. It combines the life of Mark Twain with the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, including a hilarious emotional breakdown to the tune of “Bicycle Built for Two.” The reason I really love this joke is because the author of Mark Twain Tonight, and the person who performed it for 60 years, was the great Hal Holbrook, meaning this is HAL Holbrook 9000.

Most of his performance is the bright red light.

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 121: Saturday Morning Fun Pit

NEXT – Episode 123: Assie Come Home

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Futurama Fridays: S7E19 “Saturday Morning Fun Pit”

Futurama takes on classic cartoons.

SUMMARY

This episode is divided into three different segments framed by Nixon (Billy West) and Agnew (Maurice LaMarche) watching television on Saturday morning. 

Welcome to childhood.

The first is “Bendee Boo and the Mystery Crew,” a super thinly-veiled parody of Scooby-Doo with Fry (West), Leela (Katey Sagal), Hermes (Phil LaMarr), Amy (Lauren Tom), and Bender (John DiMaggio) as Shaggy, Daphne, Fred, Velma, and Scooby. The crew is on their way to visit Fry’s nephew the Professor (West) at a cloning lab when they encounter a dragon ghost near a Kabuki theater owned by George Takei. It turns out that the theater is failing because of a local basketball arena. The crew heads to the Cloning Lab where they find out that the Harlem Globetrotters are there hoping to have the Professor clone five Larry Birds so that they can use them as practice. The only problem is that they keep getting thwarted by a dragon ghost. That night, Fry encounters the ghost and the crew hatches a scheme to catch it. They fail, but assume that Zoidbert (West) must be the ghost because he was against cloning, only to accidentally kill him. Finally, the Professor catches the ghost and it turns out to be George Takei who did it because he’s mentally ill. The Professor clones the Larry Birds and the Globetrotters feel prepared, only to discover that the actual game is against six Larry Birds.

Ruh-ro.

In the second vignette, parents are protesting the White House due to a lack of educational or moral content in children’s programming. They call Hollywood to order changes and watch the next cartoon “Purpleberry Pond,” a parody of Strawberry Shortcake. Throughout the episode, the show talks about the healthy nature of the characters’ purpleberries, only for it to have frequent ads for sugary cereals based on the show. The plot is thin and about the cast of Purpleberry Pond rejecting the new Lord Loquat (Fry) for being orange, but Princess Purpleberry (Leela) quickly says that they should accept him and they all do. The Berry Burglar (Farnsworth) tries to steal the purpleberries, only to fail for literally no reason and fire sugar on the group. The show ends with the moral that it doesn’t matter what color they are as long as they buy the cereal. 

Friend is a strong word.

The final segment is “G.I. Zapp,” which starts off as a violent parody of G.I. Joe until protestors force Nixon to start censoring it. He then tries to manually censor the show as it airs, only to constantly fail in the face of the episode’s gore. The plot is that the G.I. Zapp troops are fighting the forces of A.C.R.O.N.Y.M. (A Criminal Regiment Of Nasty Young Men), a COBRA parody. As most of the characters get killed, Nixon has to come up with increasingly ridiculous ways to explain that everyone is still alive, including landing safely next to a regularly occurring explosion at Disneyland. At the end, Orphan Crippler (Bender) does something so graphic that Nixon just has to pull the plug. He then runs an anti-violence PSA in which Nixon and Agnew stop a fight over a football by destroying the ball. The network then airs six hours of golf.

END SUMMARY

The first time I saw this, I genuinely didn’t think much of it, but on rewatch I actually found myself liking it more. Each of the sections is a decent parody and tribute to the cartoon that they’re based on and the world in which they aired. For example, the first time, I thought that it was annoying that there are so many commercial parodies in the Purpleberry Pond section, but now I really do appreciate how much it is attacking the fact that shows would incorporate fake healthy images into shows that also were selling unhealthy products and how shameless they were about promoting those products into the shows. 

Shameless and accurate.

The G.I. Zapp segment is probably my favorite, though, because it really does kind of reflect how much they had to work to censor shows like G.I. Joe to the point that they logically stopped making sense. Entire armies constantly were shooting at each other with tanks, but no one ever seemed to get seriously injured. Even in the movie, when Duke was supposed to die, they ended up having to walk that back due to how people had received Optimus Prime’s death, resulting in the awkward line “Duke’s going to make it!” I would genuinely have preferred G.I. Zapp’s version, I think. 

This is how you censor cartoons.

Overall, not a bad episode.

FAVORITE JOKE

One for each segment:

3) The floor

When Fry and Bender replicate the Scooby and Shaggy slipping run, Takei indicates that it’s because of a well-buttered floor. Just a hilarious take on a classic pratfall.

2) Part of a balanced breakfast

The narrator says: “Purpleberry Puffs are the sweetest part of your complete breakfast, along with juice, toast, ham, eggs, bacon, milk, cheese, liver, waffles and a big horse vitamin.” This is based on how cereals used to get “part of your complete breakfast” on the ads, where they asked doctors “is it healthier to eat nothing or eat cereal, eggs, toast, and fruit?” Doctors would naturally say “food beats nothing,” so the cereals could obliquely say that doctors approved it.

1) Nixon slips

After censoring the whole episode, one of the characters says “I will avenge him, you heartless” and Nixon interrupts with “BASTARDS!” He then defends it with “It’s okay, if I say it.” Just great.

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 120: The Inhuman Torch

NEXT – Episode 122: Calculon 2.0

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Futurama Fridays – S7E18 “The Inhuman Torch”

Bender becomes a hero and maybe an arsonist.

SUMMARY

Zapp Brannigan (Billy West) causes a collapse at a helium mine in the core of the Sun. Fry, Leela, and Bender (West, Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio) are sent into the Sun while wearing a protective coating made by the Professor (West). Bender saves a miner while trying to get out of it and then ends up saving the rest after he discovers the media covering the rescue. He is hailed as a hero and given a medal. A fire breaks out at the ceremony and Bender puts it out with Fry and Leela, leading them to take over as New New York’s fire department. The team manages to do good work as a fire brigade, but they start to notice that Bender is present at the site of every fire… before it starts. They question whether Bender is setting the fires just to put them out and be a hero, and they soon seem to be proven right. The team kicks Bender out for his arson. However, as he tries to leave, a strange blue flame comes out of his body and starts to talk to him (Maurice LaMarche). 

Bite Bender’s Glorious Golden-Coated Ass.

It turns out that the flame is a prisoner from the Sun who hid inside Bender and plans to ignite the Earth. Bender accidentally suggests that the flame, dubbed “Flamo,” could go to the Earth’s core by the lava pit in the basement and only stops him by taking the creature in his compartment to the middle of the arctic ocean where  nothing burns. Back home, Fry discovers that Bender’s medals had been burned and realizes that Bender might be innocent. However, when Bender tries to explain the flame creature, Fry doesn’t believe him. Flamo secretly hitches a ride back to Planet Express secretly. It then sets the building on fire and Bender goes to rescue Fry, who now believes that Bender set the building on fire. Flamo gets to the lava pit and dives in, but Bender goes in after it and stops the fire. The “mystic aldermen of the sun” arrive and arrest Flamo, saying Bender is the greatest hero in Earth history. Fry sees this and realizes the truth, but Bender says they can’t admit it or Bender might get blamed for the fire. So Fry says he accidentally burned the building and Bender pretends to have been gone. 

The Mystic Aldermen of the Sun is a good band name.

END SUMMARY

This is another episode that I often overlook when thinking about Futurama, but it’s actually pretty fun. It’s not profound or anything, it’s just a fun little excuse to give Bender a little character development and show the Planet Express crew as firefighters. I suspect that this episode might have started with someone drawing Nibbler as a Dalmatian and then deciding to write a plot in order to make it canon, but I have no basis to believe this (I’m not paying for the DVD to watch the commentary). Honestly, I think the world is nicer if that’s what happened, so I’m gonna stick with this.

He’s so spotty.

Bender being a hero is a fun idea, particularly since, in a rare moment for Bender, he actually seems to do some of it out of the goodness of his… programming? Yes, he likes the medals, but he also risks his life and future in order to take Flamo to the middle of the Arctic Ocean, seemingly for no gain other than keeping the world, and Fry, safe. Despite Bender being essentially a low-grade criminal for most of the series, this kind of stands out but somehow doesn’t feel out-of-character. It also ends on a legitimately sweet moment.

Bender is the new Gilgamesh.

Overall, I do enjoy this episode. It’s just fun and sometimes that’s what you need.

FAVORITE JOKE

This one’s a three-fer. 

3) “Count Bankula”

Yes, there’s a vampire bank and no, it’s not a blood bank, or at least not exclusively. Why wouldn’t vampires run a night bank? It’s a brilliant way to cash in on a market and they live forever.

Count Chocula does not work here.

2) Camptown Ladies

When the miners are in the middle of the Helium, their voices naturally start to go higher and they are asked to sing Camptown Ladies. It’s hilarious.

Workin’ in a helium mine, goin’ down down down.

1) Fry is naked

When the fire starts, Fry throws down a rope made of his clothes that burns. He then says “Someone save me! I made a rope from my clothes, but then this fire started.” I think it’s one of the funniest gags, that Fry was apparently making a rope from his clothes for no reason.

This moment brought to you by the letter Nude.

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 119: Fry and Leela’s Big Fling

NEXT – Episode 121: Saturday Morning Fun Pit

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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 – S7E17 “Fry and Leela’s Big Fling”

Fry and Leela take a vacation… with sexy results.

SUMMARY

Fry and Leela (Billy West and Katey Sagal) have been secretly trying to rekindle their relationship, but they keep getting interrupted by various things and people, whether it’s Bender (John DiMaggio) mugging them or Zoidberg (West) being their incompetent busboy. Even at Leela’s apartment, they can’t avoid Nibbler (Frank Welker). Leela gets a targeted advertisement for a resort that boasts total isolation and Leela gets a discount because she took a trip there before with her ex-boyfriend Sean (to Fry’s annoyance) (David Herman). When they arrive, they find that the previous people are still there, and that one of them is actually Sean, who interrupts them trying to be intimate. Leela tries to catch up with Sean, angering Fry, but it becomes clear she finds Sean uninteresting now. Fry picks a fight with Sean until Sean’s wife, Darlene (Tress MacNeille), pulls them apart and leaves with Sean. 

This. This is the ex she couldn’t get over for a decade. Yikes.

Meanwhile, Amy (Lauren Tom), Zoidberg, and Bender are sent to Simian 7, the planet of the apes, where humans are outlawed (Amy wears marmoset pajamas to pass). When they arrive, they run into Guenter (MacNeille) from Mars University, who takes them on a tour of the city. They eventually end up at the local Zoo where they discover that Fry and Leela’s resort is actually a zoo exhibit of humans. They visit the zoo director, revealed to be the Creationist professor Doctor Banjo (David Herman). He explains that the resort is how they keep humans on display without cruelty, driving his point home by showing them video of Fry and Leela mocking their coworkers. Banjo also sounds the alarm on Amy, who he recognizes, and the crew flee to try and save Fry and Leela before being eaten by a moon worm. A week later, they pass through the worm’s intestines, just in time to see Fry and Leela leave. When they arrive home, they plan on not telling Fry and Leela that they’d been a display until Fry and Leela start to mock them, leading Bender to tell them they were in a zoo.

END SUMMARY

This episode has one of my favorite endings, where Amy says “let ‘er rip” and the screen cuts to black, only to cut back to Bender shouting “YOU WERE IN A ZOO!” It’s a great fake-out that you’re not going to see the actual revelation and pretty much unique in the series. As to the actual plot, this is the start of what I feel like is the final push to wrap up the plotlines of the show, so it’s all about getting Fry and Leela back to the place where they could get a happy ending. It also finally shows us that Leela actually is over her oft-mentioned ex-boyfriend Sean, meaning that she really is ready to become serious with Fry and after he finally starts to get over his jealousy and immaturity, that Fry is ready to become serious with her. 

The romantic dinner was cute, to be fair.

The planet of the apes in this episode is a great gag. I like the reference to the movie, but the concept of a planet populated by the abused test monkeys that scientists have experimented on is what really sells it. Given how many times the Professor alone has alluded to killing or mutating monkeys (to the point that he can no longer notice the smell of burning rhesus monkey), this seems like a planet that was inevitable. It is interesting that some monkeys and apes appear to have naturally evolved to be sentient and capable of talking and that others were artificially enhanced (like Guenter). I appreciate that, regardless of how it happened, the planet actually has a more considerate zoo than Earth.

And this is the best boardroom ever.

Overall, solid episode, and it’s a good set-up for the finale.

FAVORITE JOKE

I hate everything about myself for what I am about to say, but it’s the advertisement on Simian 7 that says “BLUE ASS GROUP.” I love how many shots that this show has taken towards the Blue Man Group, but this parody is probably my favorite reference. It’s a group of Mandrills, meaning that they could easily have called it “BLUE MANDRILL GROUP” for the same joke, but they just ignored the pun and went straight for a big old picture of ape butts. Beautiful.

It’s… just so beautiful.

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 118: T.: The Terrestrial

NEXT – Episode 120: The Inhuman Torch

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Futurama Fridays – S7E16 “T.: The Terrestrial”

Fry gets left on an alien world. A parody ensues.

SUMMARY

Lrrr, ruler of the planet Omicron Persei 8, (Maurice LaMarche) is trying help his son, Jrrr (Lauren Tom), take over Earth in order to get a merit badge. Unfortunately, Jrrr is so meek that Nixon (Billy West) doesn’t take him seriously. At Lrrr’s insistence, Jrrr responds by accidentally killing the Headless clone of Agnew. Nixon places an embargo on Omicron Persei 8 in response. The Professor (West) reveals that he’s now in horrible pain because the “herbal supplement” that he uses for pain management is exclusive to Omicron Persei 8. Hermes (Phil LaMarr) orders the crew to fly to collect it, due to his love of Omicronic. While on the planet, Fry (west) and Bender (John DiMaggio) get separated and the crew gets evacuated. Bender abandons Fry and tells Leela (Katey Sagal) that Fry is on board, so Fry is left on the planet. He soon encounters Jrrr and frightens him, but the two soon bond. Fry, however, gets homesick.

For the record, that’s a good name for a pot brand.

Bender has to continue to construct elaborate lies to cover for his cowardice, but ends up making everyone assume that Fry is working harder than ever before. Bender begins to miss Fry, thinking him dead, but continues the ruse in progressively more elaborate ways. However, he eventually sees an S.O.S. that Fry and Jrrr have built on the planet. Lrrr catches Fry and has him imprisoned to be killed. Lrrr also comments that Fry is looking sick, which is because Fry has been eating Jrrr’s feces, thinking they were candy. Jrrr and Fry escape and flee on a flying love-powered bicycle, but when they get fry to a doctor, Drrr, he recommends killing Fry. Lrrr confronts Jrrr, but Jrrr stands up to him and earns his respect… only for Fry to die. Bender arrives and the Omicronic that Fry had consumed glows from Bender’s electromagnetism and his love for Fry. Fry revives and is taken home, only to find out that he is now more respected and loved than ever because of Bender’s ruse.

If the Vet is named Drrr, what’s the Doctor named?

END SUMMARY

This episode never quite hits as hard as it should for me. It’s got some funny moments, to be sure, but many of the E.T. parodies are just not quite what they should be. I think part of it is that they literally turned the iconic Reese’s Pieces scene into a poop joke and then didn’t just leave it. The joke wasn’t funny, but if we’d just left it alone, then it would just be a missed opportunity. Instead, the episode’s plot actually depends on the idea that Fry would be unable to stop eating Jrrr’s crap. Knowingly. It’s just doubling down on crap, literally.

Also, did they get rid of Ndnd just so this episode is single-parent like E.T.?

I will admit that the subplot about Bender pretending to be Fry actually works better than it should. When Bender is forced to use the single recording of Fry’s voice in clever ways in order to maintain the ruse, it usually produces a laugh. I also find it amusing that after the number of atrocities that Lrrr has committed on Earth in past episodes, including taking over multiple times, that the only thing that creates an embargo between the planets is the killing of the body of Spiro Agnew. It’s not even the last clone, either, and presumably they could just make more. I mean, how much could it take to grow Spiro Agnew? 

Looks like about 180 lbs.

Overall, it’s not a great episode, but it’s got its moments, at least.

FAVORITE JOKE

When Fry mentions that he is homesick, Jrrr takes him to a collection of extremely high-tech communications devices in order to let him “phone home,” a la E.T. However, Fry instead turns them into an S.O.S. message by pulling them into place. The key is that this actually ends up working, because Bender sees it, while all signals from Omicron are blocked by Earth. It’s a great gag because it’s the dumb thing that’s secretly brilliant.

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 117: 2-D Blacktop

NEXT – Episode 119: Fry and Leela’s Big Fling

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 – S7E15 “2-D Blacktop”

Futurama becomes 2-D… er.

SUMMARY

The Professor (Billy West) finishes supercharging the Planet Express ship, now called “Bessie,” but Leela (Katey Sagal) complains that safety is more important than speed. When the crew tries to leave, the ship malfunctions and crashes. After Leela has the ship taken to the junkyard, Farnsworth goes and rebuilds it using scrap. As he flies it home, he is accosted by a gang of racers, resulting in the Professor agreeing to a race. The Professor reveals that he’s heavily modified the ship and wins the race using a dimensional drift. The Professor joins the racers’ crew. Meanwhile, Leela orders a very boring and beige box spaceship which is incredibly safe. On its maiden voyage, the ship delivers the package for them, leaving Fry and Bender (West and John DiMaggio) sad at the lack of adventure. As she becomes increasingly boring, the Professor, now a street racer, mocks her. She challenges him to a race on the Mobius Dragstrip. During the course of the race, the two ships collide while the Professor is doing a dimensional drift and flatten.

I love this joke.

Everyone assumes that Fry, Leela, and the Professor are dead, but it turns out they were just compressed into two dimensions. It also turns out that Bender was on the ship so that he can be there for this. The group experiments with their new 2-D life before meeting the locals, the lords of flatbush. At a feast, Farnsworth tries to explain 3-D to the 2-D king, leading to the crew being declared heretics. Leela suggests they try to use the dimensional drift to get back to 3-D. Just as the ship starts to be destroyed at the scrapyard, the Professor pulls it off and the crew return to normal.

The lords of Flatbush are not particularly well-drawn.

END SUMMARY

This episode manages to do two great parodies in one. In the first half, the Professor’s racing crew is an over-the-top version of every ‘80s and ‘90s movie about teen drag racers. It’s deliberately multicultural and the names are as ridiculous as you’d expect: Minx, Bazzo, Jibby, and Benniton. Minx is the most notable, having a tragic backstory of verbal abuse from her father, only for it to be revealed that it was what her father “left unsaid.” It’s a shot at how common it was to explain that female members of gangs in those movies came from broken homes. 

Welcome to the future where gangs are very ’90s.

The second half is a parody of the 1884 book Flatland by Edwin Abbott Abbott (yes, real name). It’s a story about a world populated by geometric shapes featuring a square that interacts with one dimensional points that can’t comprehend him and then a three-dimensional sphere that the square can’t comprehend. The show takes most of the ideas behind living on a two-dimensional plane and shows how insane they would be in “reality.” It also makes some fun sight gags, like having Fry try to eat a fraction of a picture of a pile of fruit, or having Farnsworth refer to the audience as seeing things from the Z-axis. 

The ship got some modifications, then flattened.

Overall, pretty decent episode. I especially like that they name the ship “Bessie” here so that they can make a joke in a few episodes.

This episode also gave us Pimparoo, the best sight gag ever.

FAVORITE JOKE

The Mobius Dragstrip. It’s a giant mobius strip, meaning that it is a single surface that has only one side and one boundary curve. The show makes sure to drive this home by having one of the gang members point out that technically driving through both sides of the flat surface, something that would appear to be two laps, is only one lap. This results in one of my favorite lines “You kids and your topology.” I may be biased because I studied topology.

Dear F-Zero: THIS.

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 116: Forty Percent Leadbelly

NEXT – Episode 118: T.: The Terrestrial

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 – S7E14 “Forty Percent Leadbelly”

Bender finally accomplishes his… fifth(?) lifelong dream.

SUMMARY

The Planet Express team is transferring the carbonite-frozen villain Dr. Brutaloff to prison when Bender (John DiMaggio) is distracted by the presence of Silicon Red (Phil LaMarr), the greatest Folk Singer in the universe. This allows Brutaloff to escape and stab Fry (Billy West) before freezing him into the same carbonite. Fry becomes extremely angry about this betrayal. Bender seeks advice on how to be a folk singer from Red before trying to take his guitar, but Red stops him. Bender just takes a picture of it and has a copy 3-D printed from his memory. Bender tries to play a song on an open mic night, but fails due to his complete lack of knowledge about the folksy life he wants to sing about. Bender resolves to go live a hard life on the railroad. Bender meets a robot named “Big Caboose” (West) who introduces him to the other railroad workers. Bender begins composing a ballad about the people surrounding him and begins to add new characters like himself as the Rambler and a Jezebel who leaves Big Caboose for him. Big Caboose then appears with a fiance named Jezebel who promptly cheats with Bender.

Silicon Red looks like a cousin of the Borax Kid.

Big Caboose, like in Bender’s song, finds out and starts trying to hunt down Bender. Fry and Leela (Katey Sagal) realize that events are unfolding like in Bender’s ballad just as Bender decides that Big Caboose should hit him with a train rather than shooting him in the song. It’s revealed that as Bender has this thought, the 3-D printer from his guitar prints out a train, which Big Caboose promptly arrives with. Bender flees to Fry, who rejects him for his earlier betrayal just like in the song, but when he heads to Leela’s apartment, Fry is there. It turns out Bender is even 3-D printing duplicates of people. They head to the lab with the printer, only for Bender to accidentally summon some giant octopodes (the third option for making octopus plural). Leela tells Bender he can write a way to save himself in the song, but when Bender refuses due to artistic integrity, Big Caboose arrives and flattens him. However, at his funeral, it’s revealed this was a duplicate Bender which had artistic integrity, something Bender would never have, designed to take his beating.

Big Caboose, ironically, doesn’t have one.

END SUMMARY

I think this is one of the funnier episodes of the final season. This makes at least the third episode which is focused on accomplishing one of Bender’s lifelong dreams, but this one quickly goes off of the rails and I appreciate that. It’s also one of the episodes that probably best calls into question a potential future of technology being misused. 3D printing was only really starting to take off when this episode aired, since commercial printing of metal parts became available. Because of that, people were speculating about the day when we would be able to cheaply create houses using giant printers or to eliminate many societal issues through easier proliferation of important goods. This episode takes that to the future conclusion that if you can truly print anything, then nothing is unique, not even people. 

We need to beware of the Technology Lab.

I also like how much this episode both pays tribute to and takes shots at folk music. Bender describes almost all folk music with the formula that one of the main characters is named “Big” something, that “Big” character had a bad-hearted woman that did them wrong, and that “somebody kills somebody, blah blah blah.” Amy even sings that last line just to drive home how easy it supposedly is to write one of these songs. While I don’t think that it is truly that easy to write a folk song, it’s a fun and loving ribbing of the genre.

And yes, this is the woman from all of those songs.

Overall, pretty decent episode.

FAVORITE JOKE

We go inside of Bender’s head and it’s pretty great to see the organization. Bender’s core drive is a single terabyte (which was a lot more impressive when this episode aired but still not too much). In that file, we see that Bender’s main personality takes up only 3 MB, 1.3 MB of which is a single image file of the guitar belonging to Silicon Red. However, his penguin personality, from “The BirdBot of Ice-Catraz” takes up 50 times more. Then we see his porn file, which is an exabyte, an amount of storage that currently would require a large building. One has to wonder when he even finds the time to watch that much.

I mostly posted this for the HUFFPOST watermark on a porn drive.

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 115: Naturama

NEXT – Episode 117: 2-D Blacktop

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 – S7E12 “Viva Mars Vegas”

It involves a Casino theft, like that movie about the Ocean.

SUMMARY

The Robot Mafia is escaping from a recent theft and dumps the loot into a dumpster. As the Planet Express crew plans to go to Mars Vegas casino, Amy (Lauren Tom) tells Zoidberg (Billy West) that he shouldn’t go because of his poor money management skills. He finds the loot and heads to the casino himself. He places a few bets and wins, only to lose everything by refusing to walk away. When he returns to the dumpster, however, the Robot Mafia wants the money. After using his ink defense, Zoidberg escapes inside, only to be hit with the Professor’s (West) ink remover, which makes ink invisible. Zoidberg, who is completely covered and saturated with ink, becomes undetectable by the eye. The Mafia can’t find him, which leads them to decide to take over the Wong family casino as well as all of the Wongs’ other properties. Amy devises a plan to get the money back with a heist.

I don’t think that’s supposed to be Olympus Mons, but it’s big.

Using a shrimp cart to cover Zoidberg’s smell, they get Zoidberg into the vault where he eats all of the money and a black box. Once he consumes the objects, they also become invisible. However, he becomes too sick to move, so the crew have to carry him. They try to escape to the roof, but Zoidberg causes the elevator to fall to the ground floor. They almost make it to the exit until a blind guard stops them. Amy offers him a deal, which the native Martian is skeptical of due to the Wong family’s prior actions. Amy reveals that the Wongs only bought Mars for 100 years, and that the planet is now reverting back to the native Martians. The native Martians kick out the mafia and, out of gratitude, give the Wongs back their mansion and another casino. 

Hermes and Bender basically do a Trading Places bit.

END SUMMARY

It has bothered me every time I watch this that Mars is back to normal. In “A Farewell to Arms,” Mars gets blown out of its orbit and the native Martians all leave the planet. While Futurama doesn’t really have a strong continuity, that was a really big thing to just undo without any kind of reference to it. We also have completely obliterated any continuity on who owns what part of Mars and how. Originally the native Martians were pissed at the Wongs for cheating them, only for it to be revealed that Wong paid a fair price for it and they left the planet. Then they were back, but were just grabbing their stuff because they knew Mars was doomed. Now they’re back again only to reveal that they work for the Wongs and live on reservations above ground? Even for a show with loose continuity, this gets a little too much.

I also love the fact that the sci-fi magic element is a tattoo removing laser.

The heist element is done pretty well, mostly because it keeps pointing out heist tropes, particularly ones that make no sense. The best line may be when Amy is asked if people will smell Zoidberg, only for her to respond: “No, and to keep you on your toes, I’ll only explain why after the heist begins.” That’s a perfect shot at so many heist movies where members of the heist are intentionally misled about what is going to happen, usually for no good reason. It’s a trope that honestly will never make any logical sense and is a sign of a weak screenplay. If you want a good movie that averts it, watch Rififi. I appreciate them taking shots at the formulaic nature of heists, even if they seem to do it with kid gloves compared to other shows (like Rick and Morty).

Although no movie has used a smelly shrimp cart yet.

Overall, not a bad episode, but not the best either.

FAVORITE JOKE

Honestly, it’s the song from the episode. The style is almost a perfect cover for the original song “Big Spender” from Sweet Charity, and the lyrics are a perfect adaptation to Zoidberg. It contains a decent amount of potential euphemism, it matches the Vegas setting, and it just works for me. Here’s a clip:

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 113: 31st Century Fox

NEXT – Episode 115: Naturama

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 – S7E11 “31st Century Fox”

Bender gives hunting a shot. GET IT????

SUMMARY

Fry (Billy West), Bender (John DiMaggio), Leela (Katey Sagal), Amy (Lauren Tom), and Zoidberg (West) get their uniforms destroyed by a giant Moth. When they complain to the Professor (West) about getting new uniforms, he rebuffs them until the moth appears and destroys his outfit as well. The crew go to a discount uniform store and buy the outfits that the Professor had failed to pay for a year ago, but Bender also buys a 20th Century fox hunting outfit and decides to take up the sport. Angered by the notion, Leela objects, but Bender invites the crew to a fox hunt. During the hunt, Leela tries to disrupt the Huntmaster (Patrick Stewart), only to be repeatedly thwarted. She stops protesting, however, when it’s revealed that the fox is a robot, and thus no animals are being harmed. This leads Bender to switch sides and revolt against the fox hunt. 

I disagree with giving this little thing the “-zilla” name.

Bender forms an animal robot rights group called Bender’s Animal Robot Front and starts committing minor acts of theft and vandalism. They don’t quite work out, but Bender declares victory and sets out to save the robot fox. The crew gets the fox away but Bender stays behind to mock the hunters. This, naturally, leads them to hunt him. At the same time, the fox starts to drive the crew insane with its destructive behavior. The fox ends up running back to the hunting grounds and, together with the fox, Bender turns the tables on the Huntmaster and traps him. The Huntmaster tries to kill him, but the fox attacks the Huntmaster and reveals him to be a robot. Ultimately, everyone decides that the irony was so heavy that they just kill and mount the Huntmaster.

END SUMMARY

I never think about this episode when I look back on Futurama and that’s probably not a great sign. Honestly, if it weren’t for Patrick Stewart voicing the antagonist, I would probably have forgotten it altogether. There are a few fun lines in it, but it mostly just kind of chugs along until it finally resolves with a weird conclusion that everything that just happened was stupid. I mean, it doesn’t have a real B-plot, and the A-plot’s big payoff is that everyone is a hypocrite and that no one can really tell what is or is not a robot, but that’s not really explored in a satisfying way. It’s not that you can’t just have a simple episode, but it’s also just not that funny. It’s like they figured they would insert the jokes later and then forgot.

A horse named “Sea Gasket” was supposed to be a major laugh.

It’s interesting that this was the first episode where they swapped the order in this season, moving it to air later so that they could advertise the voice cameo of Patrick Stewart for the finale. Then, apparently, they just didn’t do that. Maybe the marketing people watched it and said “let’s not call too much attention to this episode.” I don’t want to say that it’s bad, but it’s pretty low on my list of Futurama. Aside from the favorite joke, I will call attention to the fashion montage at the uniform place. We get a stillsuit from Dune (modified to be kosher), a Star Trek uniform, Stormtrooper armor, the outfit from Barbarella, and the space plane uniform from 2001: A Space Odyssey, culminating in Farnsworth in the famous outfit from Zardoz. It’s pretty funny.

R.I.P. Sean Connery.

Overall, though, just not a mind-blowing episode. 

FAVORITE JOKE

In the episode, in an attempt to confuse the robot hunting dogs that are chasing him, Bender pulls out a bag of Newmar’s Own Catnip. This is a reference both to Newman’s Own, the brand owned by actor Paul Newman, and to Julie Newmar, the actress who played Catwoman on the Adam West/Burt Ward Batman series. However, when Bender uses it, it instead causes a huge number of cats to jump on him. It’s made even funnier because Bender uses it after saying “I know what’ll confuse these dogs! Catnip!” Just a solid joke.

Eartha Kitt’s version was banned by the Johnson Administration. She knows why.

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 112: Near Death Wish

NEXT – Episode 114: Viva Mars Vegas

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.