Futurama Fridays – S6E5 “The Duh-Vinci Code”

Professor Farnsworth finds out that one of his heroes isn’t quite what he expected.    

SUMMARY

Fry (Billy West) goes on a gameshow called “Who Dares to be a Millionaire” and misses the first question, which affirms his stupidity to the crew. The Professor (West) explains that he particularly dislikes Fry’s stupidity because great minds have inspired him, including his hero Leonardo da Vinci. When Fry plays with da Vinci’s beard, he finds a scroll with da Vinci’s lost invention on it. Fy offers to help the Professor decode it, but is knocked out by a hoverbus when walking across the street. When he gets home two weeks later, the Professor has been working non-stop on the invention. Bender (John DiMaggio) arrives with “The Last Supper,” which the Professor analyzes, only to determine that St. James was a robot. The crew then heads to Rome to find the remains of the Saint. 

S6E5 - 1Supper
Also, Zoidberg knows what Pentimento is.

In the catacombs under the Vatican, the crew finds a clockwork robot in St. James’ grave. The robot reveals that he is Animatronio (David Herman), who was built by da Vinci to be an artist’s model. Animatronio says that he was guarding da Vinci’s biggest secret for the Shadow Society of Intellectuals. Realizing that the Professor was not a member of the Society, the robot chooses to die rather than say more. The Professor deduces where the next clue is and the crew heads to the Trevi Fountain, where Bender finds a giant coin with the Vitruvian Man on it. They end up in the Pantheon where they find a hidden laboratory. Animatronio attacks the crew, having faked his death, but is knocked out by Bender after he reveals that all of the devices in the lab fit together. The Professor and Fry end up getting caught up by the mechanism which is revealed to be a spaceship that launches with them inside.

S6E5 - 2Animatronio
HI ANIMATRONIO!!!!

The pair land on Planet Vinci, where they are greeted by Leonardo da Vinci (Maurice LaMarche). It turns out he was an alien from a planet of hyper-intelligent humans, who look down on him because he is the stupidest person in the world. Leonardo explains that he quit inventing and left Earth when he lost the plans for his masterpiece, the Machina Magnifica. Fry shows him the sketch he found in the beard, which turns out to be the Machine. Fry and Leonardo build it together while the Professor tries to learn from the people of Vinci, who ridicule him as an idiot. Finally, Fry and Leonardo unveil the Machina Magnifica, which is revealed to be a doomsday device. The Professor supports Leonardo killing the population, but Fry ends up stopping the machine, which kills Leonardo. The Professor bonds with Fry over having been perceived as a moron.

END SUMMARY

To me, this episode is bottom-tier Futurama. It’s not a particularly fun or clever parody of the source material, it doesn’t have much emotional appeal, and I don’t find most of the jokes funny. The concept of Leonardo da Vinci being an alien isn’t bad, and the concept of a planet of people so smart they give the Professor a complex should be funny, but mixing them together just made the whole thing feel jumbled and rushed, like they only had two half-ideas rather than a whole one. It doesn’t help that for this episode Fry’s intelligence seems even a level or two below his normal stupidity. While Fry is usually lampooned for being an idiot, the fact that he twice mistakes a hammer for a nail in this episode is below even Homer Simpson level dumb. 

S6E5 - 3Fry
How is it everyone can get on a game show but me?

I do admit to liking the character of Animatronio a lot, mostly because Fry keeps greeting him with “Hi Animatronio,” but it still falls flat eventually. I also wish that the show would explain how the hell Fry and the Professor survived a month flying in a small, sealed capsule when they could just have said the trip was instantaneous. Overall, just not a great episode.

FAVORITE JOKE

Pretty much all of the actual clues of the The Da Vinci Code parody. The first one is the revelation that St. James the Lesser was originally painted as a robot based on a series of completely ridiculous statements based on the painting of the Last Supper. The second is when they find the Roman Numerals in the catacombs that indicate the paces to St. James’ tomb. It’s 2^11 – (23×89)… which is just 1. The last is when the Professor is trying to identify the fountain containing the secret laboratory. He sees a statue of Neptune and says that Neptune has a trident, which has three, or trey, points and a V in place of the U in Neptune. He puts together Trey and V and arrives at the Trevi Fountain. Even the crew questions this logic until the Professor just shouts it down, but it turns out he’s right. These are all great shots at the weird deductive reasoning found in the source material, which I appreciate. 

S6E5 - 4Math
Math! It’s FUN-damental.

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

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Futurama Fridays – S6E3 “Attack of the Killer App”

This is the “Shut Up And Take My Money” episode and it naturally satirizes Apple products.

SUMMARY

The Planet Express crew is hired to throw out the old electronics that the Earth no longer wants, even though they are originally told it’s being recycled. They dump it on the third world of the Antares system, where all e-waste is disposed of, which is poisoning the planet. It’s revealed that not only are the Earth devices wrecking their environment, but the toxic dismantling work is done almost entirely by children (except for the whipping). Leela (Katey Sagal) announces that the crew is going to try to keep their electronics longer… only to immediately throw her phone out when an ad for the new eyePhone comes out. The crew gets in line at the Mom (Tress MacNeille) store to get the new model. Despite the fact that there are a ton of them in the warehouse, the ads and the store tell everyone that the eyePhones are in short supply. Even when told that there are numerous problems with the phone, Fry (Billy West) demands that they give it to him, so they shove it in his eye. 

S6E3 - 1ShutUp
It’s for an eyePhone, which is exactly what you probably thought when you saw this meme.

The crew start to get addicted to the Twit app, based around sending short videos. Fry and Bender (John DiMaggio) make a bet about who can reach one million followers first. Whoever loses has to swim in a pool of vomit from a two-headed goat. Mom is thrilled at the success of the eyePhone, because she’ll be able to use Fry’s and Bender’s accounts to distribute a Twit-worm, which she claims is a “killer app.” Fry is desperately losing the race, but finds out that Leela has a singing boil on her right butt cheek named Susan (Craig Ferguson). Leela begs Fry not to tell anyone about it, but Fry, desperate, uploads a video of Susan and Leela singing, which gains him followers, but wrecks Leela’s reputation and her trust towards Fry.

S6E3 - 2Goats
Comedy Central was weirdly proud of this joke, and no one should be.

It turns out that Bender and Fry get one million followers at exactly the same time, so no one loses the bet. However, it turns out that Fry dunked himself in the pool and posted it online so that HE would be the new viral video instead of Leela. However, Leela had already come to terms with Susan, so the whole thing is rendered pointless. Mom unleashes the Twit-worm which turns people into zombies… so that they’ll buy the new eyePhone 2.0. 

END SUMMARY

This episode is satire of Apple and is pretty much as blatant as the show ever gets. Honestly, jokes like renaming the “iPhone” as the “eyePhone” and “Twitter” as “Twit” are so obvious that I assume even Leno made them during a monologue. However, the episode wisely doesn’t actually rely on them to be funny, instead just recognizing that you know what they’re metaphors for, then telling a story from there. Because of that, it’s able to be a bit more ambitious and satirize the fact that all of us allow ourselves to do things that we know are harmful or stupid just because we’re compelled to by successful marketing and planned obsolescence. 

S6E3 - 3Logo
Yeah, this logo doesn’t look familiar at all.

It’s made even better by the fact that, just like with real applications for smartphones, the service is explicitly provided so that they can use it to gather information about you to sell for other advertisers. Mom points out that it’s somehow even more successful than using her “infosquitoes,” similar to how tracking social media is more accurate than directly polling people for their preferences. Although, since the infosquito appears to mostly determine that people like porn, maybe they’re more accurate than polls. 

S6E3 - 4Info
This is a Star Trek reference, like everything in this show when you focus enough.

The boil named Susan joke in the episode is weird. It’s clearly a reference to Scottish singer Susan Boyle, who sang “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Miserables on Britain’s Got Talent in 2008. She was notable for the massive contrast between her harsh Scottish speaking voice and her lovely singing voice, which resulted in the most shocked expression Simon Cowell has ever made. When Susan the boil is introduced, she’s even singing the same song. However, the boil sings in a thick Scottish accent (that of Craig Ferguson) and horribly off-key. Additionally, it’s drawn to be hairy and ugly. It seems to be a shot at the fact that Susan Boyle is not traditionally attractive, but rather than being funny, that just seems mean. It also never builds up to any kind of redemption or anything, Leela just pops Susan again by sitting on her at the end and she never comes back. I’m just not a fan of punching down, and that’s what this seems like.

S6E3 - 5Susan
Yeah, this isn’t a nice comparison.

Overall, aside from the one odd joke, I do still like the episode. It’s mostly solid satire. 

FAVORITE JOKE

It’s another pedantic math joke, because I love those and Futurama is one of the only shows that does them. When Mom finds out about Fry’s and Bender’s competition, she says that she’ll have two million zombies. Walt (Maurice LaMarche) says:

Actually, Fry and Bender may share some of the same followers. All we can say for sure is that there will be between one million and two million zombies.

Mom responds with:

All I can say for sure is… [slaps Walt].

This is a reference to the Double Counting Fallacy, in which people forget the fact that two non-exclusive groups can share members, resulting in the assumption of the maximum. It’s extremely common, but only pedants like Walt… or me… would correct someone about it. Most people would respond to such correction the way Mom does.

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS –  Episode 78: In-a-Gadda-Da-Leela

NEXT – Episode 80: Proposition Infinity

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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

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

Futurama Fridays – S4E17 “Spanish Fry”

Lrrr, Ruler of the Planet Omicron Persei 8, is in the market for some human horn, if you know what I mean. And you don’t.

SUMMARY

The crew goes camping at a Bigfoot reserve to Fry’s (Billy West) delight, which is mocked by Bender (John DiMaggio) and the Professor (West). That night, Fry is abducted by aliens and the next morning he is returned without a nose. They return to New New York to get a new nose, but Fry isn’t happy with anything but his old nose. The crew discover that alien poachers have been removing noses to sell them as “human horn,” an extremely expensive aphrodisiac that in all likelihood does nothing. Fry, Leela (Katey Sagal), and Bender head to the Galactic Bazaar where they find out that Fry’s nose was sold to Lrrr (Maurice LaMarche), Ruler of the Planet Omicron Persei 8. They travel there and learn that Lrrr is trying to use it to spice up his marriage to Ndnd (Tress MacNeille), but she quickly rebuffs his attempt and returns Fry’s nose. On the way out, Bender asks why they chose the human nose instead of the “wang dang doodle,” only for Lrrr to reveal that they thought noses were the human genitals. Bender corrects him, so Lrrr captures Fry and demands his “lower horn.” 

File:Humanhorn.jpg
This is so weird. 

Leela, wanting to help Fry keep his “lower horn,” points out that Lrrr and Ndnd have a lot of relationship problems that won’t be solved by an aphrodisiac. Ndnd remarks that she misses how sweet and loving Lrrr used to be, so Fry proposes a romantic dinner. If they end up happy, he gets to keep his “lower horn.” The crew tries to arrange an extremely sexy evening for the two, but everything backfires horribly. Fry is about to be harvested when Bigfoot appears. The creature delights the Omicronians, finding it adorable. The Park Ranger, Ranger Park (David Herman), arrives and attempts to tranquilize Bigfoot so that he can cut off his big feet and use it to prove Bigfoot is real. Lrrr and Ndnd defend the Bigfoot, leading Lrrr to realize that by pursuing Fry’s “lower horn,” he’s not much better than the Park Ranger. He releases Fry, Ndnd realizes that Lrrr still has a sensitive side, and they start making out, causing everyone else to flee.

END SUMMARY

I admit that I didn’t remember this episode being particularly clever when I went to re-watch it, and it’s not, but it does have a number of solid jokes, including some that most episodes of Futurama would avoid. The scene of the “Bigfoot Preserve” is hilarious, because they basically are trying to justify taking action to conserve a potentially fictional species. The style of the video is done in such a way that either opinion about the existence of Bigfoot could be potentially satisfied, which is perfect for a Government PSA. Fry proposes putting up a network of cameras to catch Bigfoot, to which Ranger Park enthusiastically says “Ah, that would be very expensive, and most people who believe in Bigfoot are broke,” which is the most realistic answer I’ve ever gotten out of a Park Ranger. I also love that Fry’s justification for loving Bigfoot is that he “was a loner who hated the popular monsters yet longed to be one.” It’s such a ridiculous speculation on many levels, but it’s also exactly the kind of projection people make onto celebrities.

File:Duraflame.JPG
This is the future that [insert some group] wants.

The plot of humans essentially being treated the same way that Rhinos are treated, in that they are killed or maimed because of a falsely perceived aphrodisiac effect, is a good idea, but I do wish they’d carried it a little further. However, it does present an inherently weird thing about eating things like Rhino Horn or Stag Heart as an aphrodisiac: Why would the non-sex parts of the animal give you a sexual advantage?

File:Humanhorn shop.png
And why trust stuff you bought at this establishment?

Overall, pretty fun episode.

FAVORITE JOKE

The running gag of Bender taking shots at Fry’s “lower horn” is both random and hilarious, much like Fry’s “lower horn.” They’re made even better by the fact that they only seem to happen at times in which Fry or his genitals are in imminent danger and that each of them is accompanied by Bender hooting wildly.

The exchanges are:

Fry: Wait! Listen. I’m usually the first guy to toot my own lower horn–

Bender: [shouting] I’ll say! [He hoots.]

Fry: But in this case I-I just don’t think it’ll do any good.

Bender: [shouting] That’s what she said! [He hoots again.]

Lrrr: [eating] Mmm! This jerked chicken is good. I think I’ll have Fry’s lower horn jerked.

Bender: [shouting] It’s used to it! [Hoots]

File:Spanish Fry.JPG
The horn harvester is not humane.

Fry: Yes! I never thought I’d escape with my doodle, but I pulled it out!

Bender: [shouting] Just like at the movie theater! [Hoots]

Lrrr: This human’s lower horn is one of God’s creatures, a living thing, and all living things, large and small–

Bender: [shouting] In this case “small”! [Hoots]

Leela: Well, Fry, it looks like you get to hold onto your lower horn.

Bender: As usual! [He hoots.] [shouting] Run away!

It’s somewhat out of character for Bender and an unusual style of humor for the show, which makes it all the better that it’s usually discussing something horrifying or dangerous. Also, I think the movie theater reference is to when Paul “Pee Wee Herman” Reubens got caught exposing himself at an adult theater.

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 70: Three Hundred Big Boys

NEXT – Episode 72: The Devil’s Hands are Idle Playthings

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.

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Futurama Fridays – S5E14 “Obsoletely Fabulous”

Bender, the robot, revolts against technology. It’s cool, he’s made of wood now.

SUMMARY

Mom (Tress MacNeille) demonstrates a new robot at the Roboticon 3003 trade show, Robot 1-X (Phil LaMarr). Bender (John DiMaggio) is selected to compete against 1-X, only for it to be revealed that the robot is better than him in every way. Moreover, the robot is kind and helpful, which drives Bender into fits of jealousy and frustration. When the Professor (Billy West) buys one, Bender decides to get an upgrade to make him compatible with them. Upon seeing that the upgrade literally changes the minds of any robot that does it, Bender breaks free and runs away, heading out to sea.

File:1-X.jpg
You need a robot to open it, like with pocket knives.

Bender gets stranded on a tropical island and quickly starts to run out of fuel. He is revived by a group of obsolete robots who refused to upgrade at various points in technology development. While he’s skeptical of their regressive ways at first, he quickly not only adopts their ideals, but embraces them more zealously than they do. He demands a downgrade, resulting in him now being made out of wood and powered by steam, despite how insane that sounds. Determined to force the rest of the world to embrace his new low-tech philosophy, Bender returns to civilization to declare war.

File:Obsoletely Fabulous.jpg
Apparently all of Bender’s memories are contained in his eyes.

He and the other robots commit various acts of eco-terrorism before Bender finally reveals what we knew all along: He just wants to destroy Robot 1-X. He and the others attack Planet Express with a catapult, but they end up missing and hitting the ship, collapsing it onto the rest of the crew. The ship’s fuel catches on fire, endangering them further. Bender tries to save them, only to find that his body has been consumed by termites to the point of disabling him. The crew point out that the only way to save them is to ask Robot 1-X for help. Swallowing his pride, he asks the robot to aid him and saves the crew. Bender finally admits that Robot 1-X is great. It’s then revealed that Bender is actually just back at the upgrade and that everything else was a dream generated to make Bender accept Robot 1-X. He questions reality, asking if it’s possible that he’s just the product of someone’s imagination, before accepting that “reality is what you make of it” and walking off into a fairy world. 

END SUMMARY

This is the second episode of the season where the end reveals that pretty much all of it was a dream and somehow neither of them really disappointed me. The former, “The Sting,” used the fact that it was a dream to mess with Leela’s emotions and the storytelling process in general, while this one uses it to make an odd point about the nature of memory and perception. Bender finds out that all of his experiences in this episode were completely fabricated and it causes him to have a massive existential crisis about the fact that he can’t trust anything if memory is malleable. He then moves on to a higher plane and indicates that if he can create false beings to occupy his false memory, then he could very well be a false being created by another person. Eventually, he just accepts the fact that he would never know the difference and moves on, choosing to define reality himself. Despite the fact that it only occurs in the last 2 minutes or so of the episode, this is a surprisingly big journey for the show to send a character on. 

File:Bender's mouth and eyes 4ACV14.png
Also the second one where they fake a main character probably dying. 

There have been lots of films that have dealt with the concept of how memory and perception shape reality, ranging from Dark City to Memento to An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, but this one actually most reminds me of the film Brazil by Terry Gilliam. At the end, the protagonist of both end up choosing to abandon reality and escape to a better existence in defiance of what’s being forced on them. In Brazil, it’s torture and lobotomization by an insane government, here, it’s an upgrade that forcibly changes his brain. I’m not sure it’s an intentional invocation, but I still find the comparison appropriate.

Image result for brazil film ending"
Sadly, the episode has less Jonathan Pryce.

The idea of an island of robots that have regressive attitudes is a very Futurama-esque twist. It’s a satire of the common social issue that everyone believes that all the societal changes they adopted are appropriate, but any further changes are seen as too radical to be accepted. In this case, it’s tied in with the common complaint that people have as they get older that technology has changed too much to be kept up with. Plus, it results in a wooden robot, which is just hilarious.

File:Cartridge obvious.png
I also love that there’s somehow a cartridge robot, despite cartridges being obsolete first.

Overall, it’s a pretty solid episode.

FAVORITE JOKE

Lisa, the waterwheel robot (Tress MacNeille). 

File:Lisa.png
She wants to liiiiiiiiive.

Lisa is a robot who, for some reason, is powered by a waterwheel and who appears to forget that fact constantly. Every time she runs out of water, she screams and indicates that she thinks she’s going to shut down forever by not finding a water source. This is such an insane concept for a robot and it’s only made more perfect by how Tress MacNeille goes from calm and reverent to panicked and insane at the drop of a hat.  It helps that, despite how much it constantly causes her trouble, she tries to represent her unique feature as a point of pride. Just a great concept all around.

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 67: Bend Her

NEXT – Episode 69: The Farnsworth Parabox

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.