Futurama Fridays: S7E24 “Murder on the Planet Express”

 The crew deals with a murderous shapeshifting alien.

SUMMARY

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.

END SUMMARY

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.

FAVORITE JOKE

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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Futurama Fridays – S7E7 “The Six Million Dollar Mon”

Hermes becomes a cyborg and apparently that’s addictive.

SUMMARY

Hermes (Phil LaMarr) conducts a performance review and determines that he is massively inefficient for the company. He fires himself and is replaced by a robot accountant, much to Zoidberg’s (Billy West) chagrin, as he believed he was Hermes’ best friend. Hermes and LaBarbara (Dawnn Lewis) go for a walk and are mugged by Roberto (David Herman), but are saved by Smitty and URL (West and John DiMaggio). Hermes observes URL’s robotic body and decides he could upgrade himself with robot parts, getting a harpoon put in his chest. He rehires himself at Planet Express, but soon starts to respond to any problem, no matter how minor, by getting a robotic upgrade. Despite LaBarbara telling him to stop getting more parts replaced, Hermes soon is completely made of automaton parts, aside from his hair and brain. Meanwhile, Zoidberg has collected the discarded parts of Hermes and has been using them in a ventriloquist act. 

Mark 7-G is actually Homer Simpson’s computer evolved over 1000 years. #Canon.

Hermes decides to get his brain replaced with a computer, but his back alley surgeon refuses. Hermes and Professor Farnsworth (West) dig up a dead robot brain, but it turns out it was Roberto’s. As Farnsworth is about to perform the brain transplant, LaBarbara arrives and tells Hermes she’ll divorce him if he goes through with it. Farnsworth refuses, but Hermes, now near emotionless, threatens the group until Zoidberg does the operation. However, he places the brain into the ventriloquist dummy, which brings it back to life as the normal Hermes, only for Roberto’s brain to take over Hermes’ robot body. Roberto tries to eat Hermes, only to have the heat of Hermes’ Jamaican food burn through his metal frame, melting him. Hermes ends up thanking Zoidberg, even though he still hates him.

END SUMMARY

The premise of this episode is pretty solid. Hermes, a person obsessed with efficiency, is a natural candidate for a cybernetic upgrade. It honestly boggles the mind why he hasn’t already gotten some kind of high-efficiency enhancement, or at least LASIK. Tying it into his feelings of inferiority make it somewhat more relatable, particularly since he needs it for his job at the beginning. However, they never lose the humorous bits by having many of the upgrades being wildly impractical, including the chest harpoon that starts the whole thing. The final reveal that the thing that saves the crew is Hermes’ body being impossibly spicy is both foreshadowed and just freaking hilarious.

MechaHermes cares not for goat. Or symmetry.

This episode does mark a notable increase in Roberto’s craziness, particularly since he moves to being much more blatantly homicidal and strangely obsessed with eating skin. I guess there’s a little bit of a precedent for this from when he threatened to turn Fry’s lungs into hamburger patties in another episode, but it still feels like a massive deviation from his usual crazy. It also seems ridiculous to me that Hermes would steal his brain for the surgery. While I could buy the Professor or Bender getting a robot brain without caring to look at the source, this is the new extremely obsessed Hermes. 

Genuinely creepy.

Overall, still a good episode, particularly for this season.

FAVORITE JOKE

Zoidberg self-harmonizing while singing a parody of “Monster Mash” while replacing Hermes’s brain with a robot CPU. Even writing that sentence is amazing. It’s insane enough that Zoidberg apparently does medicine correctly, for once, but that he does it to a musical number and harmonizes with his own ventriloquist dummy just elevates it to another level of funny. Even Amy has to call out the fact that it’s ridiculous. 

He was actually pretty impressive.

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 108: The Butterjunk Effect

NEXT – Episode 110: Fun on a Bun

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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Futurama Fridays – S7E6 “The Butterjunk Effect”

Leela and Amy take the world of competitive floating by storm. 

SUMMARY

Fry and Leela (Billy West and Katey Sagal) are on a double date with Amy and Kif (Lauren Tom and Maurice LaMarche) where the ladies keep making catty comments to each other. Later, on a delivery, they attend a Butterfly Derby, a sporting event where women fight each other while floating using butterfly wings. Leela and Amy agree to compete, only to be beaten. However, they do well enough that they are offered a position as a competitive team named The Wingnuts. Unfortunately, they still lose every match, leading them to take the steroid-like Ocephalus Nectar. It improves their musculature and their performance in matches, but makes them mean and aggressive. They eventually qualify for the championships, but the entire Nectar supply is bought by their opponents. The crew journeys to Kif’s homeworld in order to harvest more. 

I’m sure rule 34 hit this hard.

At the butterfly sanctuary where the nectar can be found, they are warned not to provoke the males. Fry soon does and is sprayed by a foul-smelling liquid. However, Amy and Leela both find the scent arousing, as the liquid was butterfly pheromones and the Nectar ingested have made the two act like female butterflies. They decide to go cold turkey while Fry slowly builds a cocoon around himself. During the match, the now normal Wingnuts are getting beaten badly, but Fry hatches as a butterfly and their opponents fly to him due to their Nectar abuse, saving the girls. Fry sheds his butterfly body and returns to normal.

END SUMMARY

I seem to have a soft spot for this episode despite not really thinking it’s a particularly well-written one. I like it mostly because I think the Butterfly Derby was one of the funnier “theoretically possible” things this show ever came up with. I don’t know if you can do it on the moon, but people, like XKCD, have pointed out that you can definitely do it on some of the moons of Saturn. Perhaps you can do it on the moon if there is a false atmosphere in place. Maybe if it’s more oxygen rich? I dunno. I could do the math but I haven’t slept in two days and I’m pretty sure I’d add it up to Llama. Llamas are bigger than bullfrogs. No, I’m not planning on editing this. 

You could do this on a bridge.

Doing an episode about steroid abuse for laughs is a bit overused. I think the Simpsons have done it at least twice. Hell, South Park did it with the Special Olympics, something that they probably should apologize for, honestly. The subplot about Fry becoming a butterfly is kind of weak because you do know that eventually he’s going to come flying out. You probably even get the eventual twist because they already revealed he’s irresistible to Nectar addicts. However, I still think his final random popping out is pretty well-timed. They even mention that he has no brain activity and that is no different than normal.

Yeah, Rule 34 loved this episode.

Overall, not the best episode, but I still think it’s got a certain charm to it.

FAVORITE JOKE

It’s the exchange between Leela and the Professor about Nectar. When he says that the nectar worries him, the following follows:

Leela: Professor, there’s nothing wrong with Nectar. It’s all natural.

Farnsworth: So are carrots, but you don’t see me injecting them between my toes!

While this would be funny enough, he proceeds to put a carrot in his mouth and light it like a cigar before smoking it. This one amuses me to the point that I feel like I have thought of it every time I try to eat a carrot since. 

High as f*ck.

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 107: Zapp Dingbat

NEXT – Episode 109: The Six Million Dollar Mon

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 – S7E2 “A Farewell to Arms”

The Mayan Calendar was only off by a millennium. 

SUMMARY

While on a walk, Fry (Billy West) offers Leela (Katey Sagal) his hand in an act of chivalry, but she ends up getting attacked by a tentacle monster because of it and Fry’s pants get wet. When he puts them out to dry, they get caught by a weather balloon launched by the Professor (West). Fry catches up to his pants, only for a badger to take them down a hole. In the hole, Fry finds walls covered in strange symbols. Leela falls into a deeper hole, with Fry offering his hand, only for her to fall again, injuring her leg. The crew follows her, discovering a giant buried pyramid and a stone calendar with writing on it. Amy (Lauren Tom), able to read the words, determines them to be Ancient Martian and that they’re predicting the world ending in 3012. 

Yes, he took his pants off without taking his shoes off.

Farnsworth explains that his recent weather studies confirm the world is ending. The event starts by disabling all electronics on Earth with a solar flare, including the ships required to escape. Amy reveals that the pyramid they found is actually a buried spaceship made of stone. Without electronics, it can still fly with 30,000 people in it. Zapp Brannigan (West) immediately commandeers it. Nixon (West) orders a machine to choose the people who get to fly. Everyone is selected for the ship, except for Leela. Fry secretly sacrifices his ticket so that she can go.

I’m pretty sure this was in Alien vs. Predator.

On Mars, the survivors start to build a new city, but Singing Wind (West), leader of the Native Martian, arrives to tell them that Amy mistranslated the prophecy. Earth’s not getting destroyed, Mars is. That’s why the Native Martians sold the planet. As the final solar flare hits Mars, instead of Earth, it launches Mars mere feet past Earth. Everyone jumps off the planet back onto Earth, except Leela, whose leg is injured. Fry extends his hand to her, only for her arm to rip off, then his. Luckily, she gets saved anyway and appreciates that Fry was willing to sacrifice himself for her.

These two are finally starting to work it out.

END SUMMARY

I remember in 2012 when everyone was trying to create an apocalypse episode, but you would think that Futurama taking place 1000 years later would have allowed them to avoid it. Instead, they went all in with this fairly nonsensical and mostly forgettable episode. I will admit that the recurring joke about Fry’s gestures always ending poorly was used well, but the ultimate revelation that the entire plot was based around Amy completely misunderstanding the calendar was weak. I also wasn’t a fan of the joke about Fry’s “lucky pants,” although the punchline of Fry getting a ticket based on them was a little fun. The title of the episode, “A Farewell to Arms,” was actually pretty clever, both because it foreshadows Fry and Leela losing their limbs and also because Arms is an anagram for Mars. 

This was the grossest sweet shot ever.

Overall, though, I just don’t care about this episode.

FAVORITE JOKE

The Great Reveal-o. I love the concept. In the episode, when Fry gives Leela his ticket, they ask how he did it. Fry says “A magician never reveals his secrets. Except the great Reveal-o.” Zoidberg then insults the magician. Later, when the new Martian city is unveiled, we see a magician produce celebratory doves, only for him to explain that the doves weren’t magic, only crammed into the netting sewn into his sleeves. I absolutely love the idea of a magician who immediately explains the trick. It completely undermines the entire point of seeing the show and I wish he was real.

That’s a lot of doves. I’m not sure he’s not really magical.

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 – S6E20 “Neutopia”

Let’s destroy gender stereotypes by embracing gender stereotypes! Wait…

SUMMARY

Planet Express faces foreclosure due to mismanagement. The crew brainstorms ways to save it and Leela (Katey Sagal) suggests they do commercial airfare using the ship. This is shot down in favor of a nude calendar, which features Leela, Amy (Lauren Tom), and LaBarbara Conrad (Dawnn Lewis). Unfortunately, with only three women the project fails, so they finally try the airline idea (without giving Leela credit). Hermes (Phil LaMarr) and Fry (Billy West) are made pilots while the girls are made stewardesses, despite the fact that only Leela can fly a ship. The flight goes awry and they crash on a barren rocky planet. The passengers and crew total 16, eight men and eight women, and they immediately become divided over who should lead. 

This is a Star Trek reference.

The fight is interrupted by a rock alien (David Herman) who asks to speak with the leader, then becomes fascinated by the concept of gender. It decides to pose a series of tests to decide which gender is better, but ultimately decides to test their ability to reach shelter as the planet becomes uninhabitable. Both groups fail miserably at reaching the cave, but each realize that they can use Bender and the fembot refrigerator to avoid dying. Hermes and LaBarbara try to steal parts from each other, but end up having angry sex. When they awaken, the planet is burning, so both groups are about to die until they’re saved by the rock monster. Because of their failure, he lost a bet to another alien, so he uses his powers to make everyone gender neuter. 

While at first the crew and passengers work better without their sexual characteristics, eventually they miss screwing, so they demand their genitals back. The alien obliges, but ends up reversing everyone’s genders. Zapp Brannigan (West) then kills it. When they get home, both sides try to adjust to their new bodies, and the former men now pose for the remaining pages of the calendar. The calendar does well and the company is saved. A meteor crashes into the building and another alien, the Borax Kid (Maurice LaMarche) arrives to fix their bodies. Everyone is put right… except Scruffy, the Janitor. 

END SUMMARY

This episode is interesting in that it plays up sexism a lot in its characters in order to deconstruct sexism. The problem is that A) the jokes aren’t super funny and B) they had already done this back in “Amazon Women in the Mood.” For example, jokes about the inferiority of women countered by the fact that Leela and Amy are among the most competent characters in the show. What’s crazy is that they could probably have done a better job by playing up the gender swap subplot of the episode, but it ends up being a very short part of the episode. Even worse, most of the stuff in the gender swapped act is not particularly funny, like LaBarbara saying she needs to get up 5 times a night to play Xbox. However, I do admit that Hermes screaming “your manwich” when his wife makes love to him is pretty funny. 

At least it’s good to know their love isn’t just physical.

The one part of this episode that does tend to stand out is the Rock Monster’s ridiculous competition between the two parties. It’s completely random, starting out with who can drink the most sulfur, then going into a number of very pointed questions like “which is larger, and Italian size 4 or an American Apparel medium” or “name any twelve of the Desperate Housewives,” followed by the hilariously vague “how was your day.” They’re still sexist, but at least these are so farcical they’re funny. 

I also love the design of the Borax Kid.

Overall, the episode is okay, but it really just retreads something that the show already did better. 

FAVORITE JOKE

Well, my favorite joke is definitely Hermes shouting “Your Manwich!” when LaBarbara takes him in a manly fashion, but I already used that one. So, instead, I think I’ll say it’s the nude calendar. First, many of the images are references to famous pin-ups, ranging from Fry as Barbarella to Farnsworth as Farrah Fawcett. Naturally, all of these are slightly unnerving because of the subjects, which makes for a fun parody if you know the source material. Second, the episode states that they need eleven million dollars in order to stay afloat and they have a single day of sales in which to generate it. They pull it off, somehow. Since a Google search tells me that most 12-image nude calendars are under 20 dollars and the world of Futurama has a similar rate of exchange to ours, that means that they had to sell over half a million calendars in a day. Leela thanks the fans for being such huge perverts. This is a swipe at the Futurama fandom, which another Google search tells me is, indeed, full of people who are dedicated to making a lot of porn of the characters. 

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 95: Ghost in the Machines

NEXT – Episode 97: Yo Leela Leela

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JokerOnTheSofa/), follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.