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.

Futurama Fridays – S4E12 “The Sting”

Fry’s dead and Leela’s guilty. Time for some crazy trippy dreams.

SUMMARY

Fry (Billy West), Bender (John DiMaggio), and Leela (Katey Sagal) are told they’re not good enough to collect Space Bee honey for the Professor (West). Leela insists they are and drags the other two on a mission, even though it killed the last Planet Express crew. The crew reaches the space bee hive and paint Bender like a bee so he can communicate via dancing. They eventually find the previous Planet Express crew, a load of honeycomb, and a flow of royal jelly. Leela collects a baby queen bee and some royal jelly as the crew tries to collect the honey. Bender accidentally insults the queen of the hive and the crew is chased back to the ship. On route to Earth, the baby queen tries to kill Leela, so Fry jumps in front of her, sacrificing himself by being impaled with the stinger. He dies.

File:Old Planet Express Ship.png
This is how at least one previous crew died, so only losing Fry is still a net win.

Fry’s coffin is ejected into space after a sad funeral. Leela, blaming herself, eats some space honey to ease the pain, knocking her out. She dreams of a still-alive Fry telling her that he left her a surprise in his locker. She goes to work to find it and discovers that Fry did indeed leave her a one-eyed stress-relieving doll as a gift. Leela says this proves Fry is alive, but a brain-scan by the Professor says that she’s just blocking out memories due to grief. She has another dream of him being alive and awakes to his jacket on her, only for it to turn out to be her jacket when she shows it at work. They inform her that she might be having issues because she’s eating spoonfuls of Space Honey, which, if overused, can lead to permanent sleep. Leela tries to use it again that night and knocks over the jar, reconstituting Fry from the jelly. She celebrates Fry being alive, until Fry tells her to wake up, revealing it’s a dream. 

File:Fry's Funeral.png
I’m just curious why only 2 Neptunians showed up.

Leela starts hallucinating regularly and envisioning all of the crew telling her that she killed Fry. She decides to take enough honey to dream forever, only for Fry’s voice to reach her and tell her that sleeping forever isn’t an option. She’s stronger than that and she should fight against it. She starts to be surrounded by bees attacking her only for Fry’s voice to tell her that he loved her. She cries, only to wake up in the hospital next to Fry. It turns out that the stinger DID go through Fry… into Leela, who got all the poison. Fry had to get a new spleen, but after that he never left her side, begging her to wake up for two weeks. The voices she heard were him watching out for her. They hug.

File:The Sting.jpg
My ship is about to come in.

END SUMMARY

This episode was a lot darker on rewatch than I remember. Leela’s not only in a coma, but while in the coma she is seemingly about to make an active choice to put herself to sleep forever, which I can only assume means never waking up again in real life. Even worse, she’s doing it because she thinks that she’s killed Fry and is desperate to see him again. Despite the fact that Fry and Leela’s on-again-off-again relationship is not currently on, we see in this episode that Leela truly is starting to have feelings for Fry that are just as strong as his feelings for hers. More remarkably, it happens without Fry having the brain worms from the last time she was smitten with him. Having the entire episode inside of her head gives us a clearer picture of this character right before the show was going to need to wrap up this plotline. Still, having her so grief-stricken that she’s essentially going insane and about to kill herself is freaking dark.

S4EA - 1Frame.png
This is literally her suicide weapon next to a picture of her love. Super dark.

What’s more impressive in some ways is that the ending to this episode doesn’t feel like a cop-out to me. I mean, this is an episode where the twist is that it was all a dream, an episode where they fake having a main character die, and an episode where somehow you can dream within dreams and yet I didn’t hate it the way that I usually hate all of those cliches. I think it’s that this episode was pretty early in hinting to the audience that it wasn’t real and that it used the dream setting perfectly as a way of trying to show everyone how devastating grief can be. Leela blames herself for Fry’s death so completely that all of the walls in her apartment are chanting that she killed him. This is only made worse by the fact that Fry actually sacrificed himself for her. I also appreciate that in reality, Fry still did try to sacrifice himself for her, even if he ended up only losing a spleen. It shows again how much he cares for Leela.

S4EA - 2Walls.png
Great way to visualize guilt.

Overall, I like this episode a lot. I really enjoy the spontaneous musical number and the final hug between Fry and Leela. 

FAVORITE JOKE

There’s a shot of all of the women Fry has slept with from the show. During the shot, Kug (Tress MacNeille), the Amazonian that banged Fry in “Amazon Women in the Mood” says “Him do good Snu-Snu” only for all of his other exes to say “eh….” Remember, Kug had never had sex before and it seems unlikely that she’s had it since, so her perspective might not be great. The other women we see present are Petunia (MacNeille) the hooker “Put Your Head on My Shoulders,” Morgan Proctor (Nora Dunn) the bureaucrat “How Hermes Requisitioned His Groove Back,” Michelle (Sarah Silverman) his frozen ex “The Cryonic Woman,” and the other 21st Century girl he hooked up with from “Love’s Labours Lost in Space.” However, next to them is a radiator… a reference to Fry saying he hooked up with a radiator woman from the radiator planet at the Miss Universe contest in “The Lesser of Two Evils.” Since this is in Leela’s mind, that means that Leela must, on some level, believe that Fry DID in fact hook-up with a radiator alien. I love that this is the man she eventually ends up with.

File:Women Fry slept with.png

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 65: Where No Fan Has Gone Before

NEXT – Episode 67: Bend Her

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 – S4E9 “Teenage Mutant Leela’s Hurdles”

The Planet Express Crew go where nobody wants to go again: Puberty.

SUMMARY

The Professor’s (Billy West) pet gargoyle Pazuzu (David Herman) escapes, leading the crew to chase after it, but the Professor’s stereotypical-old-man behavior leads the rest of them to get annoyed. They decide that he’s too old and send him to a spa to get Youthasized. After none of the treatments work, the Professor is put into a tar bath that supposedly sucks the age right out of people. Bender (John DiMaggio) tries to pump it to make it more effective, but ends up spraying the tar on everyone. When they wipe it off, it’s discovered that the tar actually worked: The Professor is now in his 50s and the crew are now teenagers. This includes Bender, whose robonucleic acid apparently can also be affected.

S4E8 - 1Florida.png
Ah, back when Florida only supposedly had three things to mock. 

Leela (Katey Sagal) decides to go back and live with her parents to get a taste of the childhood she never had, while the Professor tries to fix the problem. Leela’s parents keep trying to treat her as an adult, but Leela tries to force them to be strict. Amy’s (Lauren Tom) parents are annoyed, as they now have to wait longer for grandchildren, and Hermes (Phil LaMarr) bonds with his now same-aged son, Dwight (LaMarr). Fry (West) goes to pick Leela up for a date and ends up winning a sewer race against local jock Moose (Herman) and his girlfriend Mandy (Tress MacNeille). 

S4E8 - 2FryDate.png
I love how cute they are as teens.

The Professor creates an oil-eating bacteria to try and fix the problem, but it ends up backfiring and making everyone younger. Additionally, they’re now aging in reverse, meaning they’ll eventually face the horror of pre-life… then death. Leela, who didn’t want to get older and thus wasn’t given the bacteria, is now a babysitter for most of the crew. She reads them a story about a mythical place called the Fountain of Aging, the opposite of the Fountain of Youth. She takes off with the now-infant crew and manages to locate the fountain. With the Professor now a toddler, the crew now fetuses, and Bender a cd of his blueprints, they jump into the fountain, but the Professor loses his grip and they start to slip into the Fountain’s black-hole center. Leela manages to save everyone, now back to their right ages, but loses the Professor, who is saved at the last minute by Pazuzu. In gratitude, the Professor grants the gargoyle his freedom, and he moves to Notre Dame to raise his children. 

S4E8 - 3Story
Zoidberg’s childhood was very different. 

END SUMMARY

This is one of those episodes where I feel like they threw darts at a wall full of other properties and combined what stuck. In this case, it hit Muppet Babies, Archie Comics, and Golden Girls. Not that this is a bad episode, although it’s at the bottom of my Futurama rankings, but it still just feels like it was more three short premises sewn together into a single episode, and they had to really stretch character traits to get there. I mean, yes, the Professor is typically depicted as being old, but in this episode his behavior is so exaggerated that the show even admits he’s a super-senior stereotype. When the crew gets de-aged to teenagers, they all pretty much act like what films think kids acted like in the 90s. It sometimes feels like they’re cashing in on a lot of easy jokes for these.

S4E8 - 5Driving.png
The Professor decides to only fly at 38 MPH, for example, despite him flying normally otherwise.

The one thing that I like about the episode, and the thing that apparently inspired them to create it, is the part with Leela living with her parents. It’s simultaneously sweet to see Leela trying to recapture the part of her youth that she lost by having her parents treat her as a real kid, and hilarious to watch how little they actually care about doing it. It’s best summarized by her interaction in which she whispers to Fry, thinking he’s going to be re-aged, to sneak her some beer, and her father replies with “No beer until you finish your tequila!” Morris and Munda usually don’t get a ton of funny lines, but watching them fail repeatedly to actually parent their daughter is hilarious.

S4E8 - 4Tequila.png
I love that he put a silly straw in it.

Overall, just not a notable episode. It’s not bad, but it’s just not great by Futurama standards.

FAVORITE JOKE

It’s probably the Child’s Garden of Space Legends. When I was a kid, I had the Child’s Garden of Verses, a book of poems by Robert Louis Stevenson. Many of them aren’t really narratives like the fables in the episode, but it’s still nice of them to reference the book. However, I do like the fact that the cover of the book is a Gorn eating a kid and that it contains the stories “Snow White and the Seven Red Dwarfs,” which is both a reference to the white dwarf star and a reference to the TV show Red Dwarf, and “Charlotte’s Tholian Web,” a reference to the book Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White and the Star Trek episode “The Tholian Web.” Just solid Futurama jokes.

S4E8 - 6Gorn.png
Dark humor seems appropriate for a book based on R.L. Stevenson.

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 62: Crimes of the Hot

NEXT – Episode 64: The Why of 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 – S4E7 “Jurassic Bark”

It’s the one with the dog that makes the internet cry forever.

SUMMARY

Bender (John DiMaggio) and Fry (Billy West) are practicing a magic act, when Fry learns that his old pizzeria was unearthed and has been put into a museum. When they go to visit the exhibit, Fry finds a fossilized dog that he realizes was his dog, Seymour Asses (he was named for a prank call). Fry tries to take Seymour with him, but is kicked out of the museum. He tries to dance in front of the building as a form of protest, to no avail, until he tells the curators a number of facts about Seymour that they consider to be more worthwhile than the dog, so they return it to him. The Professor (West) finds that Seymour was fast-fossilized, meaning that he can be cloned with all his memories. Fry is ecstatic, but Bender becomes worried that Fry likes the dog more than him.

File:Seymour.jpg
He’s an amazing little guy.

The Professor needs a while to reformat the clone-o-mat, so it’s time for the flashback. It turns out that on the night Fry got frozen, Seymour tried to stop Fry. Fry, not knowing what was going to happen, tells the dog to just wait until he comes back. Later, Seymour tried to lead Fry’s family to him, but Fry’s dad, Yancy (DiMaggio), refuses to follow him due to his fear of Y2K. The dog eventually gets them to come along, but even though he paws at Fry’s cryo-tube, the family never realizes what is happening.

File:Robo-puppy.png
Bender even tries to get his own dog, with hilarious results.

In the present, which is the future, Bender’s jealousy grows as Fry becomes more and more focused on preparing for Seymour’s return, to the point that Fry ignores Leela (Katey Sagal) and Amy (Lauren Tom) sensually wrestling. Finally, the Professor is ready to clone Seymour using the power of Geothermal Energy, so he lowers the lab next to the molten core of the Earth. Seeing the dog about to be cloned, Bender grabs the fossil and throws it into the magma. Seeing Fry break down, Bender realizes that Fry truly loved the dog and jumps into the pit, swimming through the liquid rock until he brings Seymour back. They’re about to revive Seymour when Fry realizes that Seymour was 15 when he died, meaning he lived 12 years after Fry disappeared. Fry, thinking that Seymour probably forgot about him and had a full life, refuses to go through with the cloning.

File:Unsanitarywindmill.jpg
This is a reference to The Simpsons, because this is where Homer and Marge made Bart.

Unfortunately, the audience is shown that Fry was wrong. In a time lapse montage set to the song “I Will Wait for You” by Connie Francis, it’s revealed that Seymour spent the rest of his life waiting for Fry to return home. The dog loyally looked for its master to return until, his coat grey and his eyes weary, he laid down and went to sleep, seemingly for the last time.

END SUMMARY

This episode is simultaneously famous and infamous. The ending of this episode is one of the most powerful emotional punches the show ever delivered. It spends the episode showing us the simple and beautiful friendship between Fry and his dog, from their first meeting to their bonding over “Walking on Sunshine” to Seymour trying to save Fry from his eventual fate. We even see how he tries to save Fry after he gets frozen. When Fry realizes that Seymour lived another 12 years beyond what the audience had said, he makes a noble decision, thinking that Seymour likely had a happy life without him and deserves to rest in peace. But what he didn’t take into account was that Fry was Seymour’s world. Watching a show of a dog spending his entire life waiting for the love of his life to come back, with us knowing that he never will, turns Fry’s noble sacrifice into a pointless cruelty and, due to the show’s cancellation, it was never undone. It is genuinely heartbreaking and I don’t know how else to describe it.

File:Seymour.gif
Cool, dead dog. Nice.

Fan reactions to this episode were extremely intense. Since Futurama is ostensibly a comedy, this kind of ending isn’t really expected. Even in episodes like “Leela’s Homeworld,” where there is a sad montage, it at least has a happy ending associated with it. This episode doesn’t give you a respite, it doesn’t end on a joke, it doesn’t have a happy moral, it just dumps a painful series of images on you and lets you wallow. This was so painful to the audience that the creators had to undo the whole thing when they brought Futurama back with “Bender’s Big Score” by having an alternate Fry spend the 12 years with Seymour before the dog gets fossilized. In the second to last episode of the show, they even reference it again by having the title caption say “Not the Episode With the Dead Dog.” This episode is one of the most remembered in the show and, honestly, I considered adding it to my list of the 100 greatest television episodes of all time.

File:Nibbler's and Fry's shadow in 4ACV07.png
It also contains a second hidden image.

The rest of the episode really feels like nothing more than a set-up for this downer, although Bender’s jealousy is a rare revelation that he really does care about his relationship with Fry. At many points in the show, it’s implied, mostly by Bender, that Bender is mostly just using Fry, but here we see that he does in fact care about him.

This is an amazing episode that everyone needs to see, because it’s so unique.

FAVORITE JOKE

When Bender throws Seymour into the lava, the Professor reveals that the dog might be able to be recovered because his fossil was made of Dolemite.

Dolemite (movie poster).jpg
He’s a kung-fu pimp.

So, Dolomite limestone is a rock which frequently contains fossilized remains. Dolomite the mineral is used for decorative purposes or to make auto-glass because it survives high temperatures. Dolemite is a Blaxploitation film from the 1970s starring Rudy Ray Moore. It was mostly an over-the-top parody of other blaxploitation films based around a character that Moore made up during his stand-up routines.

In other words, this is a joke that works on three different levels. I love it.

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 60: Bender Should Not Be Allowed on Television

NEXT – Episode 62: Crimes of the Hot

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All Time, Collection of TV Episodes, Collection 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 – S4E4 “Less than Hero”

The team become superheroes, because why not?

SUMMARY

Leela’s (Katey Sagal) parents are coming to the surface for a one-time visit, due to their mutant status. After securing them permits, she and Fry (Billy West) have to build a supercollider from πkea, the Swedish furniture of the future, for the Professor (West). This ends up being extremely difficult, making them sore. They obtain a miracle cream for the soreness from Dr. Zoidberg (West), which appears to work. Later, the pair are mugged, but are surprised to find themselves superstrong, invulnerable, and superfast. They realize they got the powers from the Miracle Cream and, with Bender as a third, create a superhero team called the New Justice Team. They adopt the superhero names of Captain Yesterday (Fry), Clobberella (Leela), and Super King (Bender), to protect their secret identities. 

File:New Justice Team.png
This would have been okay as a show on its own.

The three are challenged by a supervillain known as the Zookeeper (West). They manage to stop the crook, but it prevents Leela from meeting her parents. Desperate to apologize to them, she reveals that she’s a superhero, which her father immediately tells everyone. Now knowing her secret identity, the Zookeeper kidnaps her parents and holds them for ransom. The trio rob the natural history museum for a gem and deliver it to the evildoer, but discover they’re out of miracle cream, ending their careers… after Bender and Fry commit a few more crimes. 

END SUMMARY

This episode would usually be a sign that the team was running out of ideas. “Let’s have them become superheroes” seems like the kind of idea that you just throw out when all of the other options have been explored. Despite that, this episode is actually pretty solid. The A- and B-Plot interplay works well, because even as Leela is living a dream of superheroics, she realizes that it’s causing her to sacrifice her other dream of having a relationship with her parents. This ends up forcing her to choose between the two, and she naturally chooses her parents. It works out well. 

File:'tude Guard.png
We also see more anti-mutant racism, which eventually builds to a head.

The identities and the theme song of the superheroes is hilarious. Fry’s alter-ego is designed to look like a person from the 1970s, despite the fact that he was from the 90s. Leela’s outfit is clearly supposed to be a send-up of the typically revealing costumes female superheroes wear, as well as making her symbol a sexist rolling pin. Bender’s is just him wearing a king outfit and a mask. None of these costumes would be at all useful in keeping their identities secret, as Fry’s shows off his hair and mentions that he’s from the past, Leela’s shows off her cyclopic nature, and Benders still shows he’s a robot. Hilariously, Bender already had these when they revealed their powers to him, meaning that he had anticipated one day forming this team. Also, the theme song includes the line “winners don’t use drugs,” a Reagan-era comic throwback.

File:FlimFlam2.jpg
Also, the random mutation cream giving powers is hilarious.

The best part of the episode, though, is the Zookeeper. He’s among the most ridiculous supervillains ever crafted. He uses animals, though they are apparently only highly-trained, not controlled by him using any superpowers. His menagerie is the best part, as they are not the kind of animals one would expect. They include: a badger with a troubled past and nothing left to lose, an elephant who never forgets to kill, a crab named Lucky, a.k.a. Citizen Snips, a yak, a boxing kangaroo, a python, piranhas that can walk on land, and a hawk. I mostly love the fact that the crab has two names and attacks Teddy Roosevelt’s disembodied head. 

File:Zookeeper.jpg
He also is just the right amount of Camp.

Overall, this is a great episode. It focuses more on gags than on plot development, but the gags are pretty great. 

FAVORITE JOKE

Everything about the trio’s meeting with Mayor Poopenmeyer (David Herman) is great, but I particularly love how they get out of his office in order to change into their superhero personas. Leela claims that she forgot that she left her apartment on fire. Bender says that he’s late for his LSATs. Fry just says he can’t take life anymore and jumps out the window. 

File:Quantum Gemerald.png
And in a series in the future, they still use the green-line holograms. 

While this joke does obey the rule of three, obviously, it also subverts the normal structure of a Futurama rule of three gag by having all three of the statements be absurd. Typically, the first two would be somewhat normal and the third would be the insane one, made more insane by the comparison to the first two, but this time, Leela’s is a subversion of the more normal excuse of “I left my stove on,” and the others are even more insane. 

Well, that’s it for this week.

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 57: Love and Rocket

NEXT – Episode 59: A Taste of Freedom

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.