Futurama Fridays – Simpsons Crossover “Simpsorama”

Matt Groening brought back the crew for one last adventure.


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.


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.


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

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Futurama Fridays – S7E24 “Meanwhile”

At long last, we’re at the final finale of this fine series.


Fry, Leela, and Bender (Billy West, Katey Sagal, and John DiMaggio) make a delivery to the moon’s amusement park like they did on their first delivery. Leela nearly dies due to an accident and the near-death is too much for Fry, who decides to propose to Leela. At the same time, the Professor makes a 10 second rewind button, a device that allows someone to rewind the universe back 10 seconds, but takes 10 seconds to recharge, preventing a time paradox. Fry and Bender proceed to use it to steal diamonds for an engagement ring which he hides in a clam. Leela (eventually) gets the ring, but Fry doesn’t want to hear her answer, telling her instead to come to meet him on top of the Vampire State Building at 6:30 if she wants to marry him. 6:30 passes and Fry, despondent that Leela doesn’t want him, jumps off of the building, only to see her and realize that, due to how much he’d used the button, his watch was off by hours. He tries to undo the fall, but he had jumped 11 seconds before, dooming him to fall.

And they try to meme Fry again.

Fortunately, the Professor was in the “time shelter,” a small spot immune to the rewinds, and, along with the rest of the crew, makes his way to the building. Unfortunately, he exits the time shelter and, having not existed during the last reset, has his atoms scattered. The rest of the crew manage to save Fry, but Fry lands on the button and breaks it, freezing the universe for everyone but him and Leela. The two then get married and spend their lives together traveling all over the frozen world. Now old, the pair return to the Vampire State Building to drink the champagne Fry poured. They celebrate their happy life together, only for the Professor to appear, having tunneled through time. He fixes the button and tells them he can undo the whole thing, taking everyone back to when he invented the time button, but Fry and Leela won’t remember it. Fry asks Leela if she wants to “go around again,” to which she replies lovingly “I do.” 

A walk to remember… until history gets reset.


Futurama had four finales: “The Devil’s Hands are Idle Playthings,” “Into the Wild Green Yonder,” “Overclockwise,” and this one. Somehow, against all odds, all four of them are above average episodes of the show and, even more remarkably, I believe that this episode is the best of all four. This episode starts off with a throwback to the second episode by showing the gang at Luna Park (at which Bender, predictably, assaults the mascot again). They also immediately mock the fact that, as the show had gone on, the entire “delivery company” aspect had mostly fallen to the wayside, including having Leela, the one who originally was defined by her dedication to a job well done, carelessly chuck a package marked “Fragile.” This is, surprisingly, most of the tribute to the series’ origins in this episode, which is quickly followed up by Leela’s near-death which, believably, convinces Fry to try and propose to her (technically for the second time, since they were married in “Time Keeps on Slippin’.” The difference is that Fry has grown as a character in the interim and, while he’s still immature, he has progressed a lot.

Also, Fry wasn’t impressed by the moon as much this time. Which is kinda sad, but they make this joke.

The episode artificially heightens the tension throughout by having both of the leads in mortal peril for quite a lot of the runtime, which makes the third act all the more amazing. The constant threat of death contrasts with the long, isolated life that Fry and Leela live together in a frozen world. While it appears that Fry and Leela could eventually die of old age, anything else is unlikely to take them out, since nothing moves. No, I’m not sure how they eat or breathe or other science facts. You should repeat to yourself it’s just a show; you should really just relax. 

Nor should you question if this marriage is binding.

What really sets this episode apart as a finale is that it really and truly builds slowly up to the great emotional climax and, unlike most episodes of Futurama that go the tearjerker route, it’s based on joy instead of sadness (like losing a certain dog). Fry and Leela spent such a happy life together that, despite it being just the two of them, Leela doesn’t even hesitate to want to spend another life together. Having watched these two from the moment that they first met, this really is the heart of the show. Fry and Leela finally get their happy ending and it’s just wonderful.

And a swing made of supporting characters.

Overall, just a great finale. Now, I just have to review “Simpsorama,” the Simpsons/Futurama crossover, and that’ll be it for Futurama Fridays episodes.


They finally did the direct Star Trek: The Next Generation Picard parody with Hermes telling the computer “Computer, Jamaican Joy Juice, hot.” This is a reference to the famous Picard order: “Tea, Earl Grey, Hot.” Hilariously, after the computer apparently materializes the drink, Hermes then smashes the glass container surrounding it in order to drink it. Presumably you have to destroy the replicator after every use in Futurama. Also, weirdly, “Jamaican Joy Juice” is not a thing. The only definition I could find was on Urban Dictionary and, as you would expect, it has to do with bodily fluids. 

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 127: Stench and Stenchibility

NEXT – Episode 129: Simpsorama

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Futurama Fridays – S7E25 “Stench and Stenchibility”

Zoidberg, of all people, finds love.


Zoidberg (Billy West) has been online dating an alien woman named Zindy (Tress MacNeille). Fry, Bender, and Leela (West, John DiMaggio, and Katey Sagal) help Zoidberg clean out his dumpster and a bug bomb leads Bender to be discovered by Fry’s friend Randy (DiMaggio), who invites Bender to try tap dancing. Zoidberg buys some flowers for Zindy, but when she meets him, she can’t stand the way he smells and leaves him. Zoidberg tries to return the flowers to the florist, Marianne (Emilia Clarke), who reveals that she cannot give him a refund as she is broke. The pair are attacked by Roberto (David Herman), but Zoidberg’s stench drives him away. Marianne is impressed by his bravery, revealing she has no sense of smell, and the two begin to date. At the same time, Bender discovers that a six-year-old tap dancer with a heart condition named Tonya (Tara Strong) is his main rival. He attempts to defeat her through cheating, only for her to break his leg with a baton.

Ah, the traditional flower robbery.

Zoidberg is happy with Marianne, but she laments being unable to smell. Zoidberg agrees to give her a nose transplant after initially hiding it from her, even though it means that she will likely break up with him immediately. Bender asks for help with his broken leg, but Zoidberg is too busy prepping to do Marianne’s surgery. As Bender and Tonya try to compete, she mocks him mercilessly and ends up winning. In the middle of her award speech, she has a heart attack and dies. Bender dances on her corpse, but inadvertently revives her, causing the audience to love him. Marianne awakens and smells something horrible when Zoidberg brings her flowers, but she realizes that she hates the smell of the flowers, not Zoidberg. She points out that she loves the way Zoidberg smells, because she loves him. She becomes a garbage truck driver and they live happily ever after, I assume.

Skunks don’t actually smell bad if they don’t spray, but they can be ornery.


I genuinely love this episode because it finally gives Zoidberg the happy ending that he mostly deserves. It’s true that Zoidberg is sometimes a jerk, but most of the time he gets hit with a lot more than he has merited. He lives in a dumpster because he’s poor despite the fact that, according to Farnsworth, he’d be a great doctor if he was on any planet other than Earth. Even more, he’s only here because he’s friends with Farnsworth, despite the fact that Farnsworth doesn’t pay him enough to live indoors. It’s really sad when you think about it, particularly since we’ve had multiple episodes about Zoidberg being forever alone. This episode finally gives him happiness and does it in a genuinely sweet way, especially when you realize that he is willing to sacrifice his relationship to help the woman he loves. As the penultimate episode, this one gives us closure on Zoidberg and that just leaves Fry and Leela for the finale.

If you can’t smell, your sense of taste is muted, so I hope he went cheap on the wine, too.

I will also add that I think the subplot about Bender fighting a young tap dancer who Tonya Hardings him is hilarious. Bender, who is a vicious competitor and an outright criminal, still calls her a monster and, moreover, appears to be correct. It’s hilarious to watch Bender be outdone by a small child. It’s even funnier to watch him dance on the dead body of a small child and for him to be horrified that he accidentally resurrects her. It’s really among the lowest things Bender has ever done, although it does lead to their odd friendship and partnership. 

Two evil monsters.

Overall, solid episode. One more to go!


The bug bombs that they use to get rid of the roaches in Zoidberg’s dumpster are called “Hal’s Roach Bombs.” This is a reference to Hal Roach, the director of several Laurel and Hardy films, as well as the creator of the Our Gang series, better known now as The Little Rascals. The bug bomb’s slogan is, hilariously, “Kills the Little Rascals.” Look, if you can’t laugh at jokes about killing characters from the 1920s, what can you laugh at?

Bender might think it’s a bit uncouth.

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 126: Murder on the Planet Express

NEXT – Episode 128: Meanwhile

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Futurama Fridays: S7E24 “Murder on the Planet Express”

 The crew deals with a murderous shapeshifting alien.


The crew are all at odds. Fry (Billy West) and Bender (John DiMaggio) are fighting over Bender using his toothbrush to polish his ass, Hermes (Phil LaMarr) and Zoidbert (West) are fighting over lunch theft, and Amy (Lauren Tom) and Leela (Katey Sagal) fight over using each other’s sporting equipment. All of them secretly hide cameras, which reveal that, while most of the accusations were unfounded, the things that they were doing were actually worse than originally assumed. Because of all the fighting, the Professor (West) hires consultant Dan McMasters (David Herman) to host a teambuilding retreat. However, when McMasters tries to make a point about trust by picking up a hitchhiker, the hitchhiker is revealed to be a shapeshifter who eats him and begins stalking the crew after disabling multiple ship systems. While the Professor hides in the panic room, Fry and Bender work together to restart the engines, Amy and Leela get a steering wheel for the auxiliary control room, and Hermes and Zoidberg restore the airflow. The six find the monster again, but escape to the panic room.

Motivational speakers dress exactly the same in 1000 years, I guess.

With the ship running again, Farnsworth reveals that the entire monster scenario was actually a trust exercise. The teams celebrate, only for the monster to reveal that he was pretending to be Farnsworth and eat Hermes, Scruffy the janitor, and the Professor. The monster proceeds to slowly hunt down and eat all of the members of the crew until only Fry and Bender are left. The two then come clean about their actions towards each other, at which point Dan McMasters comes out and tells them that THIS was the real trust exercise and that the monster was really his partner. The two, believing him to be the monster, disintegrate him. It turns out that he was telling the truth and that the rest of the crew is fine. At the end of the episode, Fry and Bender are told that the police will offer one of them $2,000,000 and total immunity if they rat on the other. Fry and Bender both glance at the phone.

Bender denies being scared.


This was an interesting episode, because I definitely never expected this show to do a comedic parody of The Thing. As The Thing (the John Carpenter one) is one of my favorite horror movies, possibly even my favorite, I was impressed at how much they capitalized on the paranoia of a shapeshifting monster, much like the movie, but they actually kicked it up a notch by not having the monster actually duplicate a cast member until the third act. When he first appears, he’s just a hobo, but that doesn’t indicate that he can copy memories or mannerisms. It’s only when the crew feels safe that the creature reveals that it can become any of them. It makes for a very fast-paced third act, with several characters being eaten only moments apart. It’s a great tribute to a great film, and the reveal that Fry and Bender’s paranoia grows to the point that they murder an innocent person (much like MacReady does in the original film) is somehow hilarious.

They went pretty bold on the designs, too.

The other thing that I think the episode does well is explore the physics of the Planet Express ship. Since the ship routinely had insane rooms or functions added for gags throughout the series, this episode just takes that to the point of even more absurdity by having the ship have a giant network of air vents and even a basement. It makes this episode kind of a send-off to the Planet Express ship “Bessie,” and that really works with this being the final season. 

Somehow it all fits in this framework, too.

Overall, a pretty solid episode, but not the best of the show.


I love the timing on the scene in which they try to arm up to confront the monster. Bender says they can’t give everyone guns because one of them could be the creature: “Fry. Leela. Amy. Zoidberg… Zoidberg.” At this point, you see two Zoidbergs, one of which says “one of us must be the bad creature.” The other goes “is it me maybe?” only to be eaten. Zoidberg can only sadly say “aw” as he’s devoured. It’s just a completely ridiculous interaction, but it works.

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 125: Game of Tones

NEXT – Episode 127: Stench and Stenchability

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Futurama Fridays: S7E23 “Game of Tones”

Fry does Inception during Star Trek IV (The one with the whales). 


An alien ship is approaching Earth repeatedly broadcasting four musical tones that shatter planets apart. No one is able to communicate with the ship, so it seems likely that the Earth itself will be blown to smithereens. The one hope is that Fry (Billy West) actually seems to recognize the tone. The Professor (West) determines that Fry heard it on December 31, 1999, the night he was frozen. They send Fry back into his head, Inception-style, allowing him to reenact and change the events of the last day he spent in the 20th Century. At the same time, the crew communicates with him via microphone. With only a few hours left to save Earth, Fry heads back to where he spent most of his last day, with his family. Fry runs into Seymour, his dog (the one that died), and realizes that he does miss some things about his old life. Rather than exploring to try and find the sound, Fry uses this opportunity to reconnect with his family, in particular his mother. Eventually, the crew joins Fry in the dream and try to convince him to continue the mission. He refuses, but, eventually, he no longer can stay in his house.

A ship so loud you can hear it through space.

Fry continues the rest of the day with the crew in tow, but he doesn’t hear the sound. As Fry leans back at the very end of the day, he hears it as he falls into the cryogenic tube. It’s followed by two other tones in reply. Fry goes to a landing site and, when the ship plays the tones, Fry hits the last two notes. A small Nibblonian descends and greets Nibbler (Frank Welker). It turns out that on the night Fry was frozen, Nibbler and his companion got drunk and forgot where they parked their car. The tones were the parking fob. Fry, remembering where he heard the noise, leads them to the top of the Applied Cryogenics building. With Bender’s help, they jump the dead car and the Nibblonian flies home. Nibbler vows to repay Fry. That night, Fry dreams of the 2000 Rose Bowl with his mom. Realizing that he didn’t see the game, Nibbler reveals that they have put Fry in his mother’s dream, allowing him to talk with her one last time before waking. 

The same ship… somehow.


This episode is one of the biggest Futurama tear-jerker endings, up there with “Luck of the Fryrish” or “Jurassic Bark.” It’s amazing that this show could so often figure out the exact way to build a fantastical episode around something goofy and then turn it into one moment of absolute brilliant sincerity. Maybe it’s that the world has gotten more cynical or maybe it’s that I have, but giving people a true emotional moment without undercutting it and just ending on that note seems like one of the bravest things you can do in a medium and Futurama did it well on many occasions. While writing this review, I teared up a little thinking about how great a gift it would be to go and speak one more time to a person who you lost. 

The last conversation she’ll ever have with her son.

The rest of this episode is pretty funny. I particularly love watching Fry mess around with the dream, including trying to go into a strip club and finding out nothing but a giant void is within because he didn’t ever see it. Later, this turns tragic when Fry tries to re-enter his home and finds that it is similarly a giant white void because he never saw it again. The other dream logic parts of the episode were similarly great, including the strangest cameo ever of having Seth McFarlane play the dream version of Seymour the dog for exactly one line. In an even weirder twist, the dog is acting like Brian from Family Guy, right down to holding up a martini glass while lounging on the couch.

What is this, a crossover episode?

Overall, this is top-tier Futurama as we continue ramping up to the series finale.


Okay, this is a weird one, but it’s actually the last scene in which Fry talks with his mother. I know this isn’t actually a joke, but the scene is apparently designed to be a “good version” of the end of the film A.I.: Artificial Intelligence. The ending to that movie was so saccharine and painful that many people thought it turned what would have been a mediocre film into a crapfest. This episode manages to take that failure and play it straight in such a way that it was touching and amazing. Since that film was a collaboration between Spielberg and Kubrick, this means that the writers of Futurama just outdid two of the best directors in history (if only for a moment), and that’s hilarious to me.

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 124: Leela and the Genestalk

NEXT – Episode 126: Murder on the Planet Express

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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 – S7E22 “Leela and the Genestalk”

Leela’s going through changes and Fry is determined to help her.


Leela (Katey Sagal) discovers that she is breaking out in suction cups. It turns out that her mutation is accelerating through a process called squidification, meaning that she will soon be transformed into a mass of tentacles. There is no cure for the condition, but there is a surgery which can prolong the tentacles for a few months. To pay for the surgery, Fry (Billy West) is sent to sell “Bessie,” the Planet Express ship. However, Fry meets a con artist who trades the ship for some “magic” beans. When Fry returns, the Professor (West) is so angry he knocks the beans out of the window. Naturally, they grow into a colossal beanstalk. Leela, who was going to run away, instead climbs the beanstalk and finds a castle filled with strange creatures before being captured by Mom (Tress MacNeille). It turns out the castle is a genetic engineering facility where Mom creates beanstalks that ostensibly can feed the poor. Leela is imprisoned.

Let’s be fair, if you saw this, you’d climb it too.

After a few weeks, Fry and Bender (John DiMaggio) are hit by Leela’s falling boots and fly up to Mom’s castle to find Leela. Unfortunately, Leela has now been transformed into a mass of tentacles. While trying to escape, the trio encounter a giant bound to an operating table. Leela frees the captive, only to be chased by him until they escape down the giant’s sink. Leela confronts Mom and unsuccessfully tries to destroy the facility before the three escape. Later, Mom thanks Leela for “lending” her DNA. The giant is revealed to be cured of his gigantism thanks to Mom and that Leela’s DNA have made the beanstalks perfect. Leela protests the genetic modification until Mom offers to cure her, which she immediately accepts.

Genetic Engineers don’t usually live in castles.


This episode is yet another entry into the “we’re building up to the finale” series, but this one was actually created to answer an animator error. In the second season of Futurama, when you see Leela’s mom Munda, she has normal human arms. In the second season, Munda has tentacles. This episode seems to have been created just because people kept pointing out this error to the showrunners and they wanted to say “see, we had a point the whole time!” In any case, this episode does a decent job exploring Leela’s feelings towards her history, a thing that has been a big part of her story arc and finally helps her move past it so that she’s ready to find something new in her life in the finale. 

Kinda ridiculous, since almost no one even saw them in that first episode.

The other thing this episode does really well is the Momsanto corporation. There are strange creations everywhere, representing the nightmarish fears that people have of genetic engineering. In this show, Leela represents the cautious party who thinks that toying with nature is inherently a bad idea. However, like many of those people in real life, that caution is eliminated the moment that genetic engineering provides them with a cure to their own problems (you know, like how it has fed billions of people or cured various diseases). It’s not that Leela’s wrong to encourage caution about genetic research, she’s absolutely right to do it, but even evil companies like Monsanto (sorry, MOMsanto) do occasionally provide benefits to all mankind. They’re still evil, to be sure, but the people who are able to be fed probably don’t see it that way.

Line dancing survives another millennium. Why.

Overall, solid episode. Can’t believe we’re so close to the end. 


Okay, this is a legit tie. First: While climbing the building into Monsanto using Leela’s “hair” tentacles, Fry and Bender pass a window that has Adam West and Burt Ward in it. Adam West is a man-bat and Ward is a robot with Robin’s coloring. The entire scene is a reference to the times that Batman and Robin would interact with celebrities while climbing up buildings. They even have Ward say “Holy Rapunzel, Man-bat!” and call Fry and Bender a duo, though not a dynamic one. Just such a great cameo. 

Well, back to horrible experiments, old chum.

However, that cameo is matched by the fact that the pair later find Finn and Jake from Adventure Time chained to the wall of Momsanto’s dungeon. It’s a short scene and the only interaction is Jake asking “What time is it?” right before Bender says “Time for you to shut up!” The joke here is more about the fact that John DiMaggio voices both characters in a fairly similar way, leading people to compare the two, personality-wise. 

This is canon to Adventure Time… in my head.

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 123: Assie Come Home

NEXT – Episode 125: Game of Tones

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 – S7E20 “Calculon 2.0”

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


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.


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.


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

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: S7E19 “Saturday Morning Fun Pit”

Futurama takes on classic cartoons.


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.


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.


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.


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

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 – S7E18 “The Inhuman Torch”

Bender becomes a hero and maybe an arsonist.


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.


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.


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

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 – S7E17 “Fry and Leela’s Big Fling”

Fry and Leela take a vacation… with sexy results.


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.


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.


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

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.