Futurama Fridays – Simpsons Crossover “Simpsorama”

Matt Groening brought back the crew for one last adventure.

SUMMARY

The episode begins like most Simpsons intros, but with the couch gag involving Hedonismbot (Maurice LaMarche), which is awesome. At Springfield Elementary School, Bart Simpson (Nancy Cartwright) has forgotten to bring an item for a time capsule. Instead, he blows his nose on a sandwich and puts it inside. Later that night, the Simpsons hear something falling from the sky and a sound of someone drinking in the basement. Homer (Dan Castellaneta) goes down to investigate with Bart, only to find the person drinking their beer is none other than Bender B. Rodriguez (John DiMaggio). Homer takes Bender to meet the locals at Moe’s Tavern (Hank Azaria). Bender and Homer quickly bond over alcohol and bowling. Bart and Lisa (Yeardley Smith) try to figure out Bender’s purpose, only for him to reveal that he has forgotten. They take him to Professor Frink, who figures out that Bender was sent back in time to kill Homer Simpson. 

Bender’s compartment of murder mystery.

Bender refuses to kill Homer due to their friendship and receives a call from Leela (Katey Sagal) in the future. Bender lies and says Homer has been killed, but Leela, surrounded by mutant rabbit creatures, reveals that she knows he’s lying as the monsters would not exist otherwise. Fry and the Professor (Billy West) encourage Bender to kill Homer before journeying back with Leela to kill Homer, who survives thanks to Bender. The crew meet Marge (Julie Kavner) while Professor Farnsworth and Professor Frink figure out that the DNA that caused the rabbits was actually Bart’s. Bart reveals that his snot mixed with toxic waste and also touched a rabbit’s foot in the capsule. They try to dig up the capsule but are opposed by Groundskeeper Willie and sucked through the time portal to 3014, leaving Bender and Maggie in the past. 

Bart bunnies are destroying the future. God, what a weird phrase.

In the future, the creatures now resemble Bart, leading Homer to strangle some of them. Lisa and the Professor come up with a plan to shoot the creatures into space. They lure the Bart monsters into Madison Cube Garden by claiming it has Butterfinger bars, then flinging the cube into space. Fry and Homer somehow reactivate the portal and the Simpsons return home where Bender shuts himself down for 1000 years. In the future, the creatures land on Omicron Persei 8, where Lrrr and NdNd are joined by Kang and Kodos.

END SUMMARY

The phrase “this is so non-canon it hurts” comes to mind. In both The Simpsons and Futurama, each show has referred to the other as being fictional. Both shows’ creator Matt Groening even showed up in The Simpsons as the creator of Futurama and in Futurama as the creator of the Simpsons. In the first actual crossover in Futurama comics, the Simpsons were brought to life from a comic book, because they were firmly established as two universes. But, screw all that, we’re just here to have fun and that’s fine.

Bless you, kind sir.

This episode works best when it’s Homer and Bender goofing around and kind of realizing that they’re very very similar characters both in terms of personality and actually in character design. Matt Groening has admitted at a few points that he isn’t the greatest artist so when he finds a character design that he likes, he often just modifies that one rather than create a new one. When the two are together, they’re like two peas in a very odd pod. However, I’ll admit the effect starts to wear off a bit quickly, so it’s a good thing that they split them up during the third act to give us a number of scenes with other pairings. I also appreciate how many cameos the episode manages to cram in. 

Zoidberg only gets like one line, though. Bullsh*t.

Overall, this is a pretty solid crossover episode for the two properties. My one complaint is that this was in 2014, which was only a year after Futurama stopped airing. It wasn’t quite enough time for us to really be craving that return.

FAVORITE JOKE

Bender is at a racetrack and he picks a horse named “Bender’s Bounty.” However, he mentions that his memory banks say that the horse died during the race, something that Bender refuses to believe. He then shoots the horse when it starts running behind, thus fulfilling the record that the horse died during the race. I love when you have an internally consistent time-travel event and this is one of the funnier ones. 

Close second.

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 128: Meanwhile

NEXT – Episode 130: Futurama Episode Rankings

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.

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43) Marge vs. the Monorail (The Simpsons)

Okay, this is probably still my favorite Simpsons episode to re-watch. It’s also the episode that best defines the city of Springfield and the exact level of blind idiocy that permeates the town.  It was written by Conan O’Brien, who knows something about comedy, I’m told.

TheSimpsonsMvM-1ConanOBrien.jpg
And about contract negotiations.

Quick Recap: The main characters of the show are the fat, lazy, idiot father Homer (Dan Castellaneta); his wife who definitely could have done better Marge (Julie Kavner); his prankster (and later sociopath) son Bart (Nancy Cartwright); brainy daughter Lisa (Yeardley Smith); baby Maggie; and the city of Springfield (hundreds of characters at this point).

TheSimpsonsMvM-2Family.jpg
This show will apparently never die.

SUMMARY

If you haven’t seen The Music Man, you should. If you don’t like musicals then just see this episode, because it’s almost as good and over 2 hours shorter. The setup for the episode is that Mr. Burns, the town’s leading plutocrat, is found dumping toxic waste into the Springfield children’s park (he had to stop dumping at the playground because of the bald children). For this, he is fined 3 million dollars. He pays with his pocket change, and also buys a statue of justice on the way out, because subtlety is for the weak. Because of this, Springfield suddenly has a surplus of funding, despite the mayor’s attempt to steal $1 million and hope no one noticed. At a town meeting, Marge rationally proposes fixing up Main Street, which has been destroyed by people leaving on their snow chains and carrying too much weight. Mostly Homer “Look at that pavement fly” Simpson. The crowd is about to be swayed when a man who sounds remarkably like Phil Hartman whistles from the corner. That man’s name is Lanley, Lyle Lanley, and he manages to convince the citizens of Springfield to spend the money on another project: a Monorail. Lanley convinces everyone in town that the monorail is a good idea, either through flim-flams, flattery or falsification. Best of all, he does it in a peppy song that includes lyrics so funny that I have 2 different people who randomly text them to me sometimes.

TheSimpsonsMvM-3CanOpener
He also helps open pudding cans. 

Homer hears about the opportunity to become a monorail conductor and goes to an intense three-week course (The total lessons: Mono = 1, Rail = Rail). At the end, he is randomly picked by Lanley to run the monorail, while Lanley takes most of the town’s money and runs. At the same time, Marge, who was angry at Lanley and the town for ignoring her idea, is now convinced that Lanley is up to something and investigates. Upon going to one of Lanley’s former marks, the town of North Haverbrook, she learns Lanley’s entire plan from Sebastian Cobb (Harry Shearer), the man who built the last monorail. Lanley’s cost cutting on the monorail is so devastating that the monorail is doomed to fail and kill everyone onboard, which, sadly, includes celebrity guest Leonard Nimoy (whom the mayor thinks was one of the little rascals). Marge and Cobb arrive too late, because Cobb stopped for a haircut, and the town citizens are stuck on an out of control monorail. At the last minute, Homer constructs an anchor which stops the monorail, saving the town. Marge ends the episode by saying that it was the only folly of the city of Springfield… except for the Popsicle stick skyscraper, the giant magnifying glass (which sets the stick skyscraper on fire), and the escalator to nowhere (which appears to kill about 1 person per second).

TheSimpsonsMvM-4Escalator.gif
They’re not a smart town.

END SUMMARY

The key to this episode is that, just like the Music Man’s River City, Springfield represents America. Even though we are usually rational, sometimes we can get caught up in a scam or a bad idea. We follow it until eventually it collapses on us, then we say we’re going to learn better and not get fooled again… until we are, just by a slightly different bad idea. We can even have memorials of our own bad ideas featured around us, and we fail to really learn from them. Because of this, Springfield itself comes off as just another character in the show, and almost 20 years later, it may be the best-developed one.

PREVIOUS – 44: The X-Files

NEXT – 42: Sesame Street

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All Time 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.

If you have an FX account, here’s the show officially:

http://www.simpsonsworld.com/video/306386499796

And if not, here’s the hilarious opening with Burns:

And here’s the Music Man sequence: