Futurama Fridays – S6E1 “Rebirth”

The Planet Express crew manages to get back on the air. 

SUMMARY

After entering the wormhole at the end of the last movie, the crew emerges in the “Panama Wormhole,” Earth’s main shipping channel. Zapp Brannigan (Billy West) is still chasing the Planet Express ship. The ships both crash causing a massive explosion that nobody seems to survive except for the Professor (West) who was in a safety sphere and Fry (West), who appears unharmed aside from electrical burns. The rest of the crew are revealed to be just heads on skeletons. The Professor shoves everyone in a rebirthing machine in order to bring them back to life. Everyone seems okay except for Leela (Katey Sagal), who is in a coma. Bender (John DiMaggio) discovers that he has a failing power supply, so the Professor replaces it with a doomsday device. Because the doomsday device output is so large, Bender has to keep partying to burn off the excess or he will die. 

File:Rebirth preview screenshot (skeleton shot).jpg
What is holding those Skeletons together?

Fry, sad because of Leela’s coma, builds a robot version of her. By uploading all of the information about Leela on the Planet Express surveillance, the robot version gains Leela’s memories and personality. Due to not knowing she is a robot, she is horrified when she finds out about the real Leela. After she gets past the existential crisis, she and Fry start to resume the typical Fry/Leela relationship. After the last-ditch effort to wake Leela fails, the crew takes her to be eaten by the wild Cyclophage, a monster that only eats Cyclopes. At the funeral, Bender’s partying is so obnoxious that it wakes Leela up. The Cyclophage attacks, so everyone flees on the ship, with the monster, unseen, holding on to the bottom. 

File:Cyclophage.png
It’s like Mother Brain from Metroid, a frequently rebooted series.

Back on Earth, Fry and the two Leelas try to reconcile their issues, but a fight ensues. Amy (Lauren Tom) gives Fry a gun to shoot one of them, for some reason, but Fry shoots himself by accident. He is revealed to also be a robot. It turns out that the real Fry had sacrificed himself to protect Leela from the initial crash, allowing her to live through it. The Professor tried to revive him, but failed, so Leela built a robot of Fry to replace him. However, the robot Fry overloaded, shocking her into a skeleton and wiping its memory. At that time, the original Fry revives as well. The two robots leave together and Fry and Leela try to work things out. However, Bender gets angered by all the romance, so he tries to stop partying and overload. One of his eyes falls out just as the Cyclophage comes back. It eats Bender, then explodes, leaving Bender somehow unharmed and back to normal. Everyone parties to celebrate.

END SUMMARY

Following the four films, Futurama was revived by Comedy Central, something that is mentioned in the opening to this episode. Given how often the show took shots at the Fox network’s management, it’s interesting that they never seemed to have the same animosity towards Comedy Central. Maybe it’s because the rules about content are so much looser on cable, but it may also be that Matt Groening and David X. Cohen really didn’t appreciate Fox cancelling their show twice (they changed their mind once) only for it to prove itself as a huge draw on Adult Swim. It probably also ticked them off that Fox didn’t want to revive the show like they revived Family Guy and appreciated that Comedy Central could recognize the fact that Futurama had power in syndication. Whatever they were feeling, the show acknowledges the change, then acknowledges the ending of Into the Wild Green Yonder, then moves on. It’s refreshing that they could so naturally restart the normal formula without just completely ignoring everything that had come before.

The episode manages to combine the show rebooting with the characters literally rebooting and being reborn. I appreciate that they never pretend that there’s going to be a major overhaul of anything in the series despite the fact that the majority of the characters are dead at the beginning of the episode. It’s basically assured from the moment that we find that out that they are all going to come back, and the show uses that to surprise us with the reveal of the Robot Fry. It’s a very Futurama twist. 

Overall, I thought this episode was a solid return to form and it gave me hope that the show would produce some more of the quality episodes that it had previously. While I don’t think they ever quite matched “Godfellas,” many of these episodes were excellent. 

FAVORITE JOKE

My favorite joke has to be Studio 1²2¹3³. A lot of the staff on Futurama love math jokes, as do I, and this is a simple but fun one. 1^2 * 2^1 * 3^3 = 1*2*27 = 54. In other words, they’re at Studio 54, the famous nightclub, explaining why Bender is dressed in John Travolta’s outfit from Saturday Night Fever. The deeper layer to this joke is that Studio 54 was originally a TV studio which ran from 1943 to 1975. After CBS sold it, it was reborn as Studio 54, a nightclub that was the hottest thing in New York for a few years until the people that ran it, Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager, got arrested for tax fraud, which heralded its demise. However, it was eventually reborn (Oh, now I get it!) in 1998 as a theatre on Broadway. 

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 76: Into the Wild Green Yonder

NEXT – Episode 78: In-A-Gadda-Da-Leela

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 – S5 Movie 4 “Into the Wild Green Yonder”

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

REVIEW

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

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

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

FAVORITE JOKES

Here are the top 3.

  1. Bender winning the poker tournament

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

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

      2. The Striped Biologist Taunter

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

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

      3. The Moon Landing

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

SUMMARY

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

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

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

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

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

File:Itwgypart2.jpg
They’re super stylish.

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

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

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

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

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

END SUMMARY

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 75: Bender’s Game

NEXT – Episode 77: Rebirth

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

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

Futurama Fridays – S4 Movie 3 “Bender’s Game”

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

REVIEW

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

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

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

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

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

FAVORITE JOKE

There’s a few good ones:

  1. Eating Munchkin

“Care for a slice of Scroto?”

“That’s his name, right?”

“‘Tis also that, sir.”

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

      2.  Roberto’s Madness.

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

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

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

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

File:Bender's Game part 1.jpg

Sulu commands your respect!

SUMMARY

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

File:Mombil.jpg
Some satire is less subtle. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

END SUMMARY

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 74: Beast with a Billion Backs

NEXT – Episode 76: Into the Wild Green Yonder

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

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

Futurama Fridays – S5 Movie 2 “The Beast with a Billion Backs”

Turns out there’s life outside the universe and it is horny.

REVIEW

I admit this movie isn’t my favorite, but I do love David Cross as Yivo. The idea of another dimension occupied by only a single sentient lifeform isn’t unique to Futurama, but I think the idea of that life-form being super-horny for our universe is. You usually don’t associate galaxy-sized lifeforms from other dimensions with being attracted to normal life forms. It’s like if Cthulhu was featured in a porno… it’s weird on a lot of levels. That’s from a guy who reviewed Call Girl of Cthulhu, too.

File:Anti-Tentacle Blockade.jpg
This is really popular in Japan, though.

The plotline of Fry and Colleen is really odd to me. First, why would she not tell Fry she was poly before asking him to move in? Second, she’s still dating new people, but none of her boyfriends appear to be. Are they open or is it just open for her? Third, she’s the Police Chief, but in New York the head of the police is the Commissioner who is appointed by the mayor. The chief of any department is the senior sworn member. Am I being pedantic on that one? Yes, but it still bothered me.

File:Colleen.png
You brought this on yourself by not being honest, Colleen.

Overall, I do still think the movie has funny moments, but not a ton of them.

FAVORITE JOKE

File:Devilbwabb.jpg
Even in hell, bureaucracy reigns.

Bender goes to see the Robot Devil and asks for an army of the damned. The Robot Devil agrees, but only if Bender is willing to give the Devil Bender’s first-born son. Bender immediately goes to see his child. His son is so excited to see him and clearly just wants a hug. This puts him in Bender’s arms, which allows him to throw his son into a pit in Robot Hell. The Robot Devil responds with:

Wow! That was pretty brutal even by my standards.

A close second is the reveal that Kif’s planet’s term for wife, “fonfon ru” translates to “one who does not sleep with my superior officer.” That’s just so bizarrely specific.

SUMMARY

Bender (John DiMaggio) wrecked the universe in the last movie, but apparently there’s just a hole in time and space now. It’s theorized that it’s a hole to another dimension, but no one is sure, so life moves on. Fry (Billy West) has met a new girl named Colleen (Britanny Murphy (R.I.P.)) who Leela (Katey Sagal) surprisingly gets along with. Bender, however, becomes upset when Fry announces he’s moving in with her. Amy (Lauren Tom) has agreed to marry Kif Kroker (Maurice LaMarche) and the ceremony ends up going okay.

File:Fonfon Rubok.png
Her parents are judgmental even at her wedding. 

The Professor (West), who has been monitoring the “anomaly,” proposes a team go to explore it, but his rival, Dr. Wernstrom (David Herman), wants to spend his team. They settle this in the top way of scientists: Deathball. Planet Express wins, but it’s revealed that one of the other team members is also dating Colleen, who has five boyfriends. Fry still moves in with her and her other four boyfriends, but quickly breaks up with her over the awkward situation. The crew goes to check the anomaly and Bender is sent to make contact, resulting in him touching the space-time hole with his ass. This causes a massive energy discharge that injures Bender.

File:Deathball.png
The most scientific place on Earth.

Bender gets a visit from Calculon (LaMarche) at the hospital and becomes his stalker. Farnsworth and Wernstrom combine their minds to discover what the anomaly is made of, determining it to have a field that prevents any electrical devices from entering but not living matter. They are about to head to the anomaly again, but President Nixon (West) sends Zapp Brannigan (West) instead. Wernstrom and Farnsworth protest and are arrested by Colleen, the chief of police. Upon seeing her again, Fry becomes depressed and stows away on Zapp’s ship to find a place to be alone. Meanwhile, Bender becomes a member of the League of Robots, a secret organization that mostly drinks while complaining about Robot suffering. Kif is killed by Zapp trying to blow up the anomaly while Fry walks through it. Wernstrom and Farnsworth confirm that the anomaly is a portal to another dimension as Fry encounters a giant tentacled being. 

File:Yivo.png
He can touch everything, but look at only one thing at a time.

Tentacles begin to cross through the anomaly and attack every living thing in the universe. Once the tentacle-mass reaches Earth it quickly gets through all of the defenses. Fry appears, connected to the tentacle, and announces that he discovered the meaning of life: To love the Tentacle. The crew members flee and try to protect themselves from being connected to the tentacle, but eventually only Amy, Leela, and Zapp are unaffected. They appeal to Bender (as robots are unaffected by the tentacle) for help. Bender ends up helping them, but it reveals him as a human sympathizer to other robots. Meanwhile, Fry establishes a church to worship the tentacle and free love. After Zapp convinces a grieving Amy to sleep with him, they get caught by the tentacle, leaving only Leela free.

File:Funkalistics.png
Even the Funkalistics get taken.

Fry reveals that the tentacled creature is named Yivo (David Cross) and that shkle (the preferred gender pronoun because Yivo is all genders) loves the universe. Leela then breaks into the church and reveals that the tentacles are “gentacles,” and that Yivo is having sex with everyone in the universe at once. Everyone turns on Yivo and rejects the tentacles, even Fry. Yivo admits that shkle just wanted to bang the universe, but now shkle wants to love everyone truly. To show shkler power, Yivo resurrects Kif, who promptly dumps Amy for sleeping with Zapp. Yivo asks out everyone in the universe and they all go on a date at the same time. The universe is about to dump Yivo, but Yivo asks the universe to move in with shkler. Bender wants to go, but can’t, since robots can’t touch Yivo. Bender instead decides to take over Earth and sells his first-born son to the Robot Devil (Dan Castellaneta) for an army. However, as he approaches, everyone in the universe leaves for Yivo. Bender now feels lonely without his friends.

File:Pope TBwaBB.png
Another sex scandal in the church.

Yivo makes everyone promise not to talk to Earth, but Fry sends a letter anyway. Bender receives it and uses it as a justification to attack Yivo. Bender’s army drags Yivo into their universe and attacks him with Fry’s letter, which, being made of Yivo, can hurt Yivo. Yivo realizes Fry betrayed shkler and dumps the universe… except for Colleen. Life returns to normal as the anomaly disappears.

END SUMMARY

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 73: Bender’s Big Score

NEXT – Episode 75: Bender’s Game

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 – S4E16 “Three Hundred Big Boys”

A Tax Refund leads everyone on Earth to go a little spending crazy.

SUMMARY

Zapp Brannigan (Billy West) leads Earth to victory over the Spiderians of Tarantulon 6, seizing trillions in the spoils of war. Richard Nixon (West) decides to give every citizen of Earth $300 due to literal Voodoo Economists. Each member of the Planet Express crew gets one $300 bill and they all spend it in different ways: Leela (Katey Sagal) decides to swim with a whale, Scruffy (David Herman) gets a $300 haircut, Zoidberg (West) tries to live like a wealthy person, Fry (West) decides to buy 100 cups of coffee, Bender (John DiMaggio) plans to buy a cigar, but instead buys burglars tools in order to steal a better cigar, Professor Farnsworth (West) buys stem cells which make him look younger, Hermes (Phil LaMarr) buys his son Bamboo Boogie Boots, stilts which immediately malfunction, and Amy (Lauren Tom) buys a talking tattoo. Kif (Maurice LaMarche) buys Amy a watch which falls into the mouth of the same killer whale Leela is scheduled to swim with later in the week. The Professor also meets a young woman named April (Tress MacNeille) and starts a romance with her while pretending to be 25.

File:$300 bill.jpg
The Nixon Fun Bill.

Kif’s depressed about losing the watch, but Leela agrees to wear a suit filled with rotten fish for her swim so that the whale will eat the fish and vomit up the watch. Bender breaks into the cigar shop to steal the Grand Cigar, but is caught on camera and pursued by Smitty and URL (West and DiMaggio). Leela’s swimsuit gets eaten, along with the rotten fish, resulting in Mushu the whale vomiting up the watch, but Kif gets arrested for taking museum property. Zoidberg tries multiple “rich person” activities, but rejects them all. Fry becomes addicted to caffeine.

File:Three Hundred Big Boys.jpg
The whale is puking up a fortune.

The staff all attend a party to celebrate Zapp’s victory at the Silk Surplus. Zoidberg tries to buy some art, but finds out that $300 is not that much. Kif gets free when it’s revealed that he was being kept for the ambergris that covers his body. Bender lights his super-expensive cigar. The Professor and April reveal that he is super old and she is heavier than she appears, but they continue to be attracted to each other. Hermes and his son, Dwight (LaMarr), still stuck on their Bamboo Boogie Boots, end up breaking into the party and knocking Bender’s cigar into the silk tapestries, setting the whole party ablaze. Everyone is about to die when Fry drinks his 100th cup of coffee and enters a state of hyper-enlightenment, allowing him to evacuate everyone at super-speed, though they don’t realize it’s him. Out back, everyone finds Zoidberg cooking hotdogs and they all enjoy a meal while saying that they got a few good stories out of the tax rebate.

END SUMMARY

This episode is Futurama’s version of the celebrated The Simpsons episode “22 Short Films About Springfield,” which itself was based on the film Thirty-Two Short Films About Glenn Gould. In this, rather than just observing how a normal day in the lives of all of the characters on Futurama would go, the episode focuses on what the cast would do when given a windfall. Notably, none of them actually try to invest the money, both because that would be boring and also because the purpose of a tax stimulus is to encourage spending. 

File:Bamboo Boogie Boots.jpg
Yes, including on stupid stuff. Especially stupid stuff.

The strength of this episode is how flawlessly they keep each story feeding into the next one. The plotlines shift according to geography, theme, or even the previous line spoken, which makes everything feel extremely cohesive and allows for a large amount of storytelling within a short time. Each of the stories explores a different aspect of the characters, ranging from Bender’s thievery to Farnsworth’s amorous ambitions to Leela finally doing something spontaneous. It’s a nice way of giving us a large number of character moments in a short time. Perhaps the most impressive thing is that at the end of the episode, Fry gets superpowers and it somehow feels completely earned and not like a cheap deus ex machina. I think it’s because everyone secretly believes caffeine can give you hyperfocus rather than a coronary. 

Image result for fry 100 cups of coffee
Yes, they make a bullet-time reference.

Overall, this is definitely one of the best Futurama episodes, mostly because it doesn’t really feel like any other episode. 

FAVORITE JOKE

The Whale Biologist. He’s one of my favorite unnamed characters. Everything we learn about him just makes him more hilarious and absurd. First, we find out that he hates whales, especially Mushu, but refuses to explain why he became a whale biologist. Second, he believes that whales kill for at least five reasons, one of which is just for fun. Third, he believes that his job requires him to be brutally and needlessly honest, but excuses it by saying “I’m a whale biologist.” Fourth, law enforcement has to listen to him due to his position. Last, he is intensely devoted to Aquarium property, including ambergris, a whale byproduct. His character has so many hidden depths… because whale biologist.

File:WhaleBiologist.png
Tell me your secrets, Whale Biologist!!!

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 69: The Farnsworth Parabox

NEXT – Episode 71: Spanish Fry

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 – S4E15 “The Farnsworth Parabox”

In one of the funniest episodes of the show, we find out what life is like on the other side of the universal boundary.

Warning up front: The episode labels the universes Universe A and Universe 1, which gets super confusing but I’m still adopting it.

SUMMARY

Fry (Billy West) invites Leela (Katey Sagal) out on a date, but gets shot down as usual. Meanwhile, the Professor (West) conducts a reckless experiment that almost kills him, then gives the box containing the result of the experiment to the crew and tells them to shoot it into the sun. He orders them not to look into the box for any reason. Hermes (Phil LaMarr) puts Leela in charge. Fry and Bender (John DiMaggio) try to steal the box, but Leela tricks them into stealing random junk. Eventually, Leela flips a coin to decide if she should look into the box which lands on “look.” She looks inside, only to fall through it and land… back in the Planet Express building. Fry (Fry-1) walks in, with different hair and clothes, asking why she looks different. Leela says she doesn’t, only to be confronted by a different version of her (Leela-1) with red hair. 

Image result for futurama the farnsworth parabox
It’s the Box to end all Boxes. 

The other Professor (Professor-1) realizes what happened: The box he created contained Universe A (the main universe), while the Professor-A created a box containing Universe 1. Assuming that Universe-A must be evil, Professor-1 has Leela-1 abduct the rest of the Planet Express crew-A (except Hermes-A). Each group assumes the other is evil and finds out that the difference between their universes are the outcomes of coin flips. Each person is assigned to monitor their counterpart, which leads Fry-A-and Leela-A to find out that the other Fry and Leela are happily married. Finding out that everyone isn’t evil, the groups quickly bond with their counterparts, which drives Fry-A to anger when he finds out that only a single coin flip kept him from being with Leela. At the same time, the two Zoidbergs (West) partner together and steal the box containing Universe-A to get everyone’s attention. The next morning, Professor-1 announces that everyone is free to go, only for Hermes-1 to come in and ask why they aren’t shooting the box into the sun. The crews realize that Hermes-A is about to shoot THEIR box into the sun and try to hurry back to their universe. 

Image result for futurama the farnsworth parabox
Remember, all of the differences are from coin flips… somehow.

The Professor-1 tries to retrieve the hidden box, only to find out that it’s gone. The Professors start generating more boxes, hoping to find another box containing their universe. As they fail, the Zoidbergs return with the box, but they panic and flee into another universe, scattering the boxes containing other universe. Everyone starts to hop from universe to universe to find the Zoidbergs, finally managing to track them down. Both crews head to Universe-A and stop the destruction of the box. Leela-A gives Fry-A a chance to go out with her and the Professors each invert their boxes, resulting in each having a box that contains their own universe. Fry sits on the box, compressing the universe, but no one seems to notice.

Image result for futurama the farnsworth parabox
This would have been a decent show premise on its own.

END SUMMARY

This is one of the best episodes of the show. Part of it is watching all of the characters do some projected introspection in order to find out what is different, including finding out that Professor-1 removed his own brain and watching both of the Zoidbergs lie to each other about being successful. Seeing a version of Fry and Leela together that are happy was a major bit of fanservice and, since the show was about to end at the time, sets us up to believe the “happy” ending that is hinted at by the original finale. It’s also a nice touch that the alternate Fry (Fry-1) is more mature and the alternate Leela (Leela-1) more spontaneous than their counterparts, indicating that they both are improved by knowing each other. 

File:Deleted Scene (041502).png
Meanwhile, Fry-A gets beaten up at a Neil Diamond concert.

We’ve often seen the “mirror universe” trope and it’s even invoked within the episode, but in typical Futurama style it’s subverted by never having an “evil” universe. It just has a universe where stuff is different, but not necessarily better or worse. The most memorable sequence in this episode has to be the universe-hopping. We see a ton of gag universes ranging from Roman to Robot, all of which are pretty good for a laugh. Despite that it only lasts for a few minutes, it is one of the parts of the show that I best remembered for years. 

File:Frys.jpg
All the redheaded ones are single. Weird.

Overall, I love this episode. It gave us “Bite my glorious golden ass,” which is basically a work of art comparable to any Shakespearean monologue.

Image result for futurama glorious golden ass
Explain the difference between this and “All the world’s a stage.”

FAVORITE JOKE

Runner-up:

One of my favorite touches is that one of the universes is Universe 1729, the Hardy-Ramanujan number. The story goes that the mathematician G.H. Hardy visited Indian Mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan in the hospital and told Ramanujan that he had taken a cab to see him. Hardy expressed sadness that the cab’s number was 1729 and that he was disappointed it wasn’t an interesting number. Ramanujan said that it was indeed an interesting number, because it was the smallest number that could be expressed as the sum of two cubes in two ways (1729 = 13 + 123 = 93 + 103). Since then, any number which is expressed as the sum of two cubes in n distinct ways are called taxicab numbers. In this episode, what populates Universe 1729? Rude Bobbleheads, which are two things often found in New York Taxicabs.

Image result for futurama the farnsworth parabox
This is the day Funko was born.

Favorite Joke:

Not as complicated, but still funnier is that when the two Benders appear in the Roman universe (Universe XVII), as they leave the Professor notices them and says “Quae?” This is the Latin equivalent of his catchphrase “Whaaaa?” It’s so simple, but it’s such a random gag that I love it.

Image result for futurama the farnsworth parabox roman
You don’t need Arabic numbers to make a universe. Fun.

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 68: Obsoletely Fabulous

NEXT – Episode 70: Three Hundred Big Boys

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 – S4E13 “Bend Her”

Bender gets a sex change to cheat at the Olympics and then to date a celebrity.

SUMMARY 

The crew goes to attend the 3004 Olympic games where Hermes (Phil LaMarr) has been pulled out of retirement to compete in the Limbo. The rest of the Jamaican team has been detained at the airport for being stereotypes. Since Hermes is out of shape, the Professor (Billy West), gives him a special bodysuit designed to make him super limbo-y. He hopes to finally defeat his bitter rival Barbados Slim (John DiMaggio), the only man to win Gold Medals at both Limbo and Sex. He’s also Hermes’s wife LaBarbara’s (Dawnn Lewis) first husband. Unfortunately, the suit bursts from Hermes’s gut right before the finish line, costing Hermes the race. 

Related image
Barbados Slim is the one closest to the camera, because cameras can’t stop staring at him.

Bender (DiMaggio) insists that he could win a medal at the bending competition, only to realize that he has no chance when he sees the other competitors. He then sees that the female bending robots have much easier competition, so he decides to disguise himself as a fembot. He wins the gold, but finds out that, much like the real Olympics, there is gender testing. He has the Professor make him into a fembot (something that even the professor admits is ill-defined), collects her medals as “Coilette from Robonia,” and remains a woman for the celebrity. While on a talk show, she meets Calculon (Maurice LaMarche), who falls for her. She dates him for the gifts and the celebrity, which offends Leela (Katey Sagal) and Amy (Lauren Tom). Eventually, Calculon asks her to marry him, which she accepts. 

Image result for Bend her futurama
I mean, he owns the world’s largest yacht. You don’t say no to that.

Bender/Coilette just wants to scam Calculon for his money, but eventually realizes that Calculon’s feelings are real. She can’t just leave him, so she decides to come up with a thing that he can believe: A Soap Opera death. So, at the wedding, she has the crew act out a contrived death which Calculon accepts and uses to try and win an Emmy. At the end of the episode, Bender is made male again, but he still pines for Calculon a little. 

END SUMMARY

This episode both doesn’t age well and is also strangely prescient. The idea of someone undergoing a sex change solely for the point of winning contests is something that seems to have come up more in recent years, but this episode plays the idea for a laugh. The episode is able to sidestep the fact that it would be insane to undergo massive surgeries and hormone therapies to win a medal by having robot genders be so ill-defined that it basically amounts to an oil change. The thing that most seems ridiculous, though, is that Bender, who is not a competitive athlete, could actually beat female athletes. The overall world record holders for weightlifting events are all men, but the female Clean-and-Jerk record is still over 400lbs and the Bench Press record is over 600lbs. That’s way more than even most casual bodybuilders can lift, let alone a guy who mostly drinks beer and slacks off like Bender. 

Image result for women's olympic clean and jerk record
Here’s Tatyana Kashirina lifting twice my body weight. 

The subplot about Hermes, too, predicts something that would later become an issue. Farnsworth designs him a suit which essentially grants him an unnaturally limbo adept figure, allowing him to almost defeat a much better athlete. This resembles the LZR Racer, a swimsuit designed by Speedo in 2008 which supposedly made swimmers more aerodynamic. The suit not only worked, but worked so well that 93 World Records were broken while wearing them and 98% of all the swim medals at Beijing in 2008 involving the suits. They were so devastating to the competition that they were called equivalent to doping and banned. I’d like to think the people designing it watched this episode. 

Image result for lzr racer
Granted, giving it to Michael Phelps helped.

The subplot about dating Calculon is surprisingly sweet and, while Bender acts like a jerk, Calculon’s sincerity makes it heartwarming. I also love how they play out the Soap Opera death, particularly the random intrusion of Fry as Congo Jack, who spears Coilette. 

Image result for congo jack futurama
It’s more ridiculous in context.

Overall, the episode’s still funny, even if some parts of it aren’t the best in the show.

FAVORITE JOKE

Image result for french stereotypes futurama
Also the Jean Reno fan club of the year 3004.

It’s the list of all the fake countries in the future. There’s a country that has a population of one person called the “Nation of Joe.” There’s a bunch of fur-clad robots from “Cyberia.” Devil’s Island, a prison island off of French Guiana which was used as a prison by France until 1946, is shown to now be its own country… whose entire population are clad as criminals. The Republic of French Stereotypes appears to be the most hated nation in the world, because its athletes are shown being snooty, wearing berets, and carrying bagets. I’d also like to add that Bender’s fake country, Robonia, has my vote for best anthem: 

Hail, Hail, Robonia… A land I didn’t make up!

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 66: The Sting

NEXT – Episode 68: Obsoletely Fabulous

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.