Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Hi, I'm Sue. Everyone knows the hoverboards don't work on water, and I am an Anomaly.

Good news, everyone! Futurama returns to TV with new episodes this Thursday. The premise, very basically, is that Philip J. Fry was a pizza delivery guy in the 20th century fell into a cryogenic chamber on December 31, 1999, and wasn't awoken until December 31, 2999. So now he's stuck 1000 years in the future, working at his only relative's (Professor Farnsworth's) interplanetary delivery service, Planet Express. Also employed at Planet Express are Bender, a robot; Leela, a cyclops; Dr. Zoidberg, a lobster-type alien; Hermes, a Jamaican bureaucrat; and Amy Wong, an heiress and student in the Professor's classes at Mars University.

In celebration of the new episodes, here are the top 5 reasons that I love Futurama, and why you should watch Futurama. I tried finding video clips to include, but I haven't had much luck due to copyrights. So I'll do my best with just text, and a little montage at the end...

5. For geeks, by geeks. There are so many references to other geeky things in every episode of Futurama - some are more obvious, others extremely subtle - that I'm constantly discovering new ones. One of my favorite examples occurs in the episode "Anthology of Interest II" - when Fry wonders what the world would be like if it were more like a video game. The story is then told using tropes established by Frogger, Space Invaders, Asteroids, Pac Man, and so many other classic arcade games. And when Fry is unable to destroy the last ship of the "invaders from space", he's told by Lrrr (from the planet Nintendu 64, but really from Omicron Persei 8), "Instead of shooting where I was, you should have shot where I was going to be."

4. No joke is a throw-away. In one of the first episodes of the series, Fry tries to "ask" questions about his new surroundings. But the 30th century natives don't understand until they realize he's using an "archaic pronunciation" of the word "ask." And in the first Christmas episode, we learn that the work "Christmas" has been replaced in the language with "Xmas" (pronounced "ex-mas"). Four years later, all characters are still saying, "Let me axe you something" and discussing "Xmas eve." These are also just 2 small examples of the consistency of the show as well, which is extremely impressive. Once something is established, it doesn't get changed (hear that, Brannon Braga?).

3. What people in the 30th Century consider 20th-century history is hi-larious. Did you know that "The Honeymooners" chronicles the life and times of a real astronaut? Or that the first astronauts where sent to the moon to go whaling? Or that in 1000 years, Metallica will be considered "classical music." Not only do I find this fantastically hilarious, but it makes me wonder - In the 1770's, did parents yell at their children to "turn off that infernal Mozart?" And are some of the ancient etchings on which we've based anthropological theories just dirty cartoons?

2. "Where No Fan Has Gone Before." Yes, this episode is a whole reason by itself. It's obvious that the creators of this show love Star Trek, but are also fully aware of its flaws. And they have no problem pointing them out. At the start of this episode, Fry learns that Star Trek is forbidden in the future, all fans were killed during the Star Trek Wars (not to be confused with the Star Wars Trek), and the most of the actors' heads and "sacred" tapes (79 episodes, 6 movies) were sent to a forbidden planet. Not to be deterred from seeing his favorite show, Fry takes Leonard Nimoy's head from the Head Museum and the Planet Express crew embarks on a mission to find the forbidden planet and watch some Star Trek. Hilarity ensues. And why does Fry love Star Trek so much? "Because it... it taught me so much. Like, how you should accept people, whether they be black, white, Klingon or even female... But most importantly, when I had no friends, it made me feel like maybe I did." If you only watch one episode of Futurama in your lifetime, watch this one.

1. It's not just about the jokes - it's sentimental. Seriously. For as silly and crass as it can be, it deals very truthfully with relationships. *SPOILERS AHEAD* In "The Luck of the Fryrish", Fry discovers something that makes him think his brother Yancy stole his life, dreams, and lucky 7-leaf clover after his "disappearance" back in the 20th century. But it turns out that Yancy named his son after Fry, and gave him the 7-leaf clover and the confidence to accomplish his dreams. But the episode that really put me through the ringer is "Jurassic Bark". I'll try to get through the synopsis without crying... Fry finds his fossilized dog, Seymour, and wants to clone him using the Professor's latest invention. However, before he can go through with it, he finds out that Seymour died years after Fry was frozen, and decides that if Seymour could move on, so could he. Cut back to the year 2000, where we see Seymour waiting on the corner for Fry to return; the seasons change, and years go by, and Seymour eventually dies of old age, still waiting for Fry. (Now I'm crying.)

And that's it. I probably could given more reasons, but wanted to keep it relatively short. Also, my order is flexible. But it all comes down to this - if you haven't watched Futurama in the past, I encourage you to get your hands on the first four seasons somewhere, and tune into the new episodes this summer.

Anomaly Staff Writer

1 comment:

Jen said...

Yeah! I thought its return was a rumor! :D Great post. Thank you!

My favorite episode is "Godfellas" Bender is launched into space and after an asteroid crashes into him a tiny civilization develops on his belly.