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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 – S2E19 “The Cryonic Woman”

The second season finale features a blast from the past and Sarah Silverman sleeping with Pauly Shore.

SUMMARY

Leela (Katey Sagal) leaves the keys in the ignition of the Planet Express ship, leading Fry and Bender (Billy West and John DiMaggio) to take the ship joyriding. Unfortunately, the ship is tethered to the building, resulting in massive damage. The Professor (West) fires the three of them. Leela reveals that she still has her and Fry’s career chips from the Pilot, while Bender has a random arm belonging to the Prime Minister of Norway. Unfortunately, Leela puts Fry’s chip in her arm and vice-versa, so he takes over her old job as a cryogenic counselor. Fry unfreezes many people, including Pauly Shore, before unfreezing his old girlfriend, Michelle (Sarah Silverman).

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Meanwhile, Leela has hit hard times.

Michelle tells Fry that her freezing has nothing to do with Fry; she got married, divorced, and then depressed, so she froze herself. They start dating again, but Michelle doesn’t fit in well in the future. Michelle convinces Fry to freeze the two of them so that they can try again in the year 4000. He agrees, but they wake up in a post-apocalyptic landscape.

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At least all the fires will keep you warm, guys.

Fry is angry at Michelle for convincing him to leave his friends, while Michelle is dissatisfied with Fry’s survival skills. They later are taken prisoner by barbarian children. Fry challenges the leader of the tribe of children to a race and wins, but it’s revealed that the kids are just playing while waiting for their parents. Fry finally dumps Michelle, but soon finds Leela and Bender. It turns out that he was actually just in Los Angeles, having been frozen for just two days. Michelle ends up dating Pauly Shore and Fry doesn’t get his job back until the next episode.

END SUMMARY

Well, this is one of the episodes that expands on Fry’s backstory, in this case specifically on the one woman willing to date Fry in the past. Unfortunately for Fry, Michelle is terrible. She’s abusive, she’s manipulative, and she’s disloyal. While Fry is, admittedly, an idiot, he is at his core a decent person who wishes to help his friends. Unbelievably, it turns out he deserves better than Michelle.

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She’s even ID’d by a photo of her cheating on him.

This episode also explores one of the things that makes Fry such an interesting protagonist: He’s a man out of time who is definitely in the right time. Fry may not have been raised to be a citizen of the 30th century, but he thrives there. There’s a line from Sin City about the character Marv, which says he’s not crazy, he just “had the rotten luck of being born at the wrong time in history. He’d have been okay if he’d been born a couple of thousand years ago. He’d be right at home on some ancient battlefield, swinging an ax into somebody’s face. Or in a Roman Arena, taking a sword to other gladiators like him.” Fry’s the same way, except that he’s a loser who happened to end up in a time where even losers get to go on crazy space adventures. Everyone who isn’t the kind of slacker that Fry is would consider everything that he does mundane and try to avoid excitement, but Fry thinks it’s all amazing.

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Hell, he even goes to Museums in this time.

I will never figure out why Pauly Shore’s in this. This was the year 2000. His career had officially been on hold for 4 years at this point. The previous year he was in Casper Meets Wendy, the Avengers of strange children’s cartoon live-action adaptations. It’s just such a random cameo. His role in the episode is even weirder, with him basically being a more mature, intelligent, and impressive version of the “Weasel” character that he used to adopt during his stand-up act, saying something extremely well-thought-out, but following it up with “BUD-DY.” Just so odd…

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Also, he’s naked in a lot of it.

I really think the third act is one of the funnier and more random twists the show put forth: That L.A. is a giant wasteland. Fry points out all of the post-apocalyptic elements, only for Bender to tell him that yes, all of those are signs of being in Los Angeles. I also love that, if you spoke Hebrew, you would have noticed that the girlfriend of the leader of the kids counted to three in the language in order to start the Death Rolling race, which pays off later when it turns out that the kids are going to Hebrew School.

FAVORITE JOKE

I think it’s hilarious that Fry and Bender basically decide to use Fry’s position as a post-cryogenic freezing counselor to prank people. Bender’s prank on the old man where he dresses up as a giant fly to scare him, then pretends to be a killer robot, then a killer gorilla, is particularly funny. When the old man has a heart attack, Bender just re-freezes him to wait until they have a cure for that, which apparently they already do. Rather than use that as a point to stop torturing him, Bender instead takes this as permission to perpetually horrify him, to the point that later, Fry finds him just saying “Flies and Gorillas.” I fully acknowledge this is sick and twisted, but I still think this is a great use of cryogenics.

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Why does the Fly have a cape, though?

Well, that’s it for this week.

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 31: The Honking

NEXT – Episode 33: Amazon Women In The Mood

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.

Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 – Happy Doesn’t Mean Fulfilled, Fulfilled Means Happy (Spoiler-Free)

Wreck-It Ralph’s sequel decides to show us that sometimes one person’s happily-ever-after is another person’s doldrums.

SUMMARY (Spoiler-Free)

It’s been six years since Wreck-It Ralph (John C. Reilly) and Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman) took down King Candy (Alan “I love this man” Tudyk) and returned Vanellope to being the princess of the game Sugar Rush. The pair are now best friends, hanging out at Litwak’s Family Fun Center and Arcade together every night. Ralph is happy with his life, but Vanellope is getting bored of the limited tracks available in her racing game. Ralph attempts to make a new one, but ends up breaking the game. The pair head to the internet to try and find a new part before the game gets unplugged. Along the way, they run into a tough female racer named Shank (Gal Gadot) from the internet game Slaughter Race, the algorithm from a video streaming site named Yesss (Taraji P. Henson), a search engine named KnowsMore (Alan “I really love this man” Tudyk), and every single Disney princess.

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Also they have Jason Mantzoukas and Baby Groot at one point and I love it.

END SUMMARY

Wreck-It Ralph had several themes, but the focus of Ralph’s and Vanellope’s arcs were on how they were being defined by others. Ralph was constantly looked down upon, because he IS the villain of his game, but he was still a nice guy who just wanted people to like him. Vanellope is looked down upon because she is regarded as a “glitch.” Neither of them had any choice in these traits, but they both are burdened with the consequences of them. Throughout the movie, Ralph manages to come to terms with his situation by realizing that it doesn’t matter if all of the other characters in his game think of him as a hero, because he’s a hero to Vanellope and knows he’s doing the right thing. Vanellope, similarly, refuses to be regarded just as a glitch and, in fact, manages to turn her glitching into a superpower. At the end of the film, both of them now have moved beyond caring what anyone else thinks and have defined themselves both on their own terms and also in the terms of their friendship: Ralph’s the Hero, Vanellope’s the Racer.

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Here’s a picture of a candy car rather than Jean-Paul Sartre.

Their major arcs in the first film arise from existential crises where they are both trying to avoid being forced to adopt the values that society has placed upon them, a concept that Sartre referred to as “Bad Faith.” Ralph ends up mostly avoiding acting in bad faith because at the end of the movie, he doesn’t need the medal that he was seeking the whole film, he just needs to act like the hero he knew he could be. He even says one of the ultimate existential lines “there is no one I’d rather be than me.” He is now living authentically, in existential terms, which leads him to a place where he feels truly happy with the role he now plays of his own volition.

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Did the reading already for Firefly.

That’s where this movie picks up the ball and runs with it in a pretty solid way. Ralph is happy at this point. He’s never had friends or been a hero, so having Vanellope as a friend and being her hero has made him satisfied. However, Vanellope is a racer. She lives for the challenge and now she doesn’t have it anymore, because she’s just too much better than any of the other racers. The core conflict of the movie arises from the fact that she and Ralph care about each other, but she no longer is happy just spending time with him. She needs fulfillment. When her game is in danger of being unplugged, she still agrees with Ralph’s plans to try and save it, but she knows that deep down she really doesn’t want to return to it. The rest of her arc in the movie is trying to find fulfillment in her life. Ralph’s arc, in response, is to learn how to deal with her leaving. Having never had a friend before, he is afraid of being alone again. Rather than just authenticity, she’s seeking self-actualization and he’s seeking self-determination. It’s a great way to progress their story after the end of the last film.

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The evolution of this medal alone is great.

But, boring thematic stuff aside, this movie does for the internet what Inside Out did for the human brain: Comes up with a clever way to represent the structure of it that’s intuitive and not particularly inaccurate. It has an insane number of references and sight gags, particularly if you were on the internet in the early days of AOL through now. The movie addresses social media, e-commerce, viral marketing, and even internet comment threads (though the lack of racial slurs makes it unrealistic).

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The Dark Web contains less sex trafficking and arms sales than in real life.

However, Disney really saved up the big shot for when it’s representing OhMyDisney where they manage to cram in more references, callbacks, in-jokes, and just flat-out nostalgia bombs in about 5 minutes than I would have thought possible. Then, they bring in the princesses. Yes, every Disney princess is in this movie, and they’re all amazing.  Almost all of them are portrayed by their original voice actresses. They even get a scene in which they work together to subvert the damsel-in-distress trope. It’s contrived, to be sure, but watching all of them use all of their skills in tandem and play off of each other ends up making it less corny and more awesome.

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Also, Merida has the best line in many movies. 

Overall, this is a great sequel, a great movie, has a lot of solid gags, and a message that actually is pretty unique for the genre. Oh, and it has the best mid-credits and after-credits meta-gags I’ve ever seen. Do not leave.

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

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