Sunday, September 2, 2012

Four Futuramas: Farnsworth's Parents, Mars Vegas, Fox Hunting, Animals

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

One thing that I like about Futurama (and other animated shows like The Simpsons) is that, for the most part, you can watch them out-of-order and nothing really changes. I mean, aside from having a good grasp on the qualities of each character (like the Professor and Fry being related, the fact that Amy's parents are rich folks who live on Mars, and that Fry and Leela are an on-again/off-again couple), these final four episodes of the first half of the seventh season could easily be viewed much earlier in the series sporadic canon. I didn't care much for "31st Century Fox," but the other three were worth watching, I'd say. (Though I found it weird that the janitor character appeared throughout the final episode... just strange to be reminded of him so often, I suppose.] None were beyond notable or must-sees, and I feel like I've said that quite a few times for this season of the show... so, unless something drastically changes, we will not be covering this show upon its return in a few months.

Futurama "Near-Death Wish" (S07E10): ["There's no bismuth like show bismuth" was the tagline. a tad funny?] At some random awards ceremony, Hermes and his wife are supportive of their son while Fry is alone, the Professor having skipped the affair. [awww. I can relate. Many times as a child I'd be the one without parents at my events. of course, part of that was that I had many of them...] Fry wins a Clippie for Best Delivery Boy, though all three of his competitors are deceased. [AWKWARD! but how did he get nominated for this, exactly? and, really, the "Academy of Delivery Sciences"??] Sad, Fry decides to seek out some relatives on another planet, where he finds out that the Professor's parents are being used as batteries. [yay! hating on The Matrix!] Fry, Leela, and Bender try to connect with the virtual world, getting sucked into it, and Bender uses a reverse-mortgage scam to convince Fry's "grandfather" to let them in. [haha, that was funny!]

The trio bring back Farnsworth's parents (who say that the Professor was crotchety as a child) to New New York (even if it's through using them for their "energy" once again), and Fry has great fun with them. The Professor gets upset, jealous that his parents didn't have enthusiasm in his interests as a child. See, he was accepted to MIT at 14, but his parents thought that he wasn't emotionally ready for college, so they moved him to a farm from the city. [yeah, I'd hate my parents for that, too.] He was so full of hate that he never spoke to them again after he moved away. Leela and Amy suggest that he talk to his parents about all of this, but after doing some hating, the Professor streaks away, running to the farmhouse. [in Queens? I liked the tires joke though!] Well, "the grandparents" tell of the Professor's older brother, who was instituted at a young age... but it turns out that the Professor WAS the older brother! [how awkward can you possibly get??] He was in the institution for 25 years, and his parents never knew that he was released! [they never checked on him? and LOVED the "it felt like a minute compared to grad school!" comment!] It seems that the Professor's parents spent every night trying to keep him calm while he slept, which is why they never had the energy to play with him as a child. Don't worry, they're not sticking around, though... the professor sends them to a virtual farm. [yeah... weak.] 

Futurama "Viva Mars Vegas" (S07E11): [The opening was made by hand, resulting in a cool effect that I hope we see more than once!] The crew heads to Amy's parents' casino on Mars Vegas for the weekend, but because Zoidberg isn't the greatest at managing his money, Amy suggests that he stay home. [awww! he looked so dejected!] Well, a "Binks" truck gets robbed by the Robot Mafia, who drop the loot in Zoidberg's dumpster to get away from the fuzz. ["DeNiros" instead of "dinero" was a little amusing.] Zoidberg takes the money as a sign from God, heading to Mars Vegas, begins spending lavishly, and is immediately labeled a sucker. [can we pause for a moment to think about our own "Indian casinos" ? Here, many of the casino employees are native Martians, who make minimum wage on land that was once theirs. sound similar to anyone? also, loved the "Big Spender" song spoof!] Zoidberg bets $8M on roulette, hits for $288M, and lets it ride... winning $10B+. Rather than stop while he's ahead or collect any of his winnings at all, Zoidberg lets it ride again, losing it all. [boo!] Well, the robot mafia catches up with him back in New New York and threatens to kill him... luckily, he gets away by inking. [why would he come back to the same dumpster?? ph, because it never occurred to him that someone could be after that money!] Fry was having a tattoo removed when Zoidberg bursts into Planet Express, and the removal laser makes him invisible, as he was covered in so much ink! [odd. and a stretch. but okaaay...] Unable to recover the money, the robot mafia decides to take over the casino as well as the Wong mansion. [how did they just "take it all over?" and, haha at "what's rent?"]

Amy plans to break into the casino vault and get everything back to normal by having "invisible" Zoidberg enter the vault while it's getting the usual deposit, his scent masked by that of rotten shrimp being carried in a cart pushed by some of the others. [haha, chart room! and Wong instead of Wynn!] Zoidberg will have to EAT THE MONEY to get it out of there, while the others cause a distraction to keep the vault from being closed prematurely. Bender acts as a rich cowboy, Hermes like a Nigerian King, and Farnsworth as a young billionaire. [I thought that Hermes' line about spam emails and the Professor's line about wearing a hoodie were pretty funny.] Things look clear until a blind security guard smells something funny and blows flour on Zoidberg, making him visible. Luckily, Amy has a backup plan - she has the original contract that her ancestors signed with the Martians - the land will be returned to the natives! [I found this to be a tidy but frustrating solution.] Fortunately, the Martians give the Wongs back their home and their second casino, so all is well in the end. [haha, a Treasure Island casino spoof. not nearly as funny as the Wynn, though!] And, a bath makes Zoidberg visible again, too. [so... by that logic, wouldn't getting Fry's face wet make his tattoos reappear?] 

Futurama "31st Century Fox" (S07E12): The crew goes shopping for new uniforms, which the Professor had been denying them for quite a while. Everyone tries on different options, but they wind up getting personalized "Planet Express" uniforms off the clearance rack because they were ordered a year ago and never paid for. [figures. made me angry!] Bender picked up a fox-hunting outfit at the shoppe, becoming obsessed with the sport before learning what it is. So, he and Fry head to an event which Leela boycotts, advocating that fox-hunting is cruel and inhumane. [hahahaha - "what's that weird cat?"] The hounds and fox-hunters head into the woods, and it's soon revealed that the fox is actually robotic, enraging Bender into starting BARF (Bender's Animal Robot Front), a movement to stop robots from having to do things to other robots. [anti-gravity snares?? I call shenanigans!] They would stop robots shooting robot ducks at carnivals, robots butchering robot pigs, and robot farmers from forcing robot chickens to lay robot eggs. [yeah... it all seemed pretty odd, actually.] At the next weekly hunt, Bender wants to liberate the robot fox, but before you know it, Bender winds up being the hunted robot! [didn't see this coming... I wonder if I should have!] Bender winds up cutting off his finger in the forest and doing an interpretive dance to signal for help... but gets his foot stuck in a trap. Things look bleak, and after robo-fox chews off Bender's foot to free him, he kills the creature. [see why this episode was my least favorite of the bunch?] 

Futurama "Naturama" (S07E13): [strange "Mutual of Omicron's Wild Universe" opener/revolution spoof.] This episode has three sub-stories, the first of which had no specific title. The crew are mostly salmon, with Zoidberg being a crab who eats them. They're born, make their way to the open water, and Leela and Fry plan to mate when it's time to spawn. Zapp gets in the way, of course, but it's not a big deal until it's time to go back upstream and it turns out that Leela and Zapp are from the same river but Fry is from one river over. [I laughed at all of the "mysterious salmon" jokes.] We see Bender fertiliing everyone's eggs, including Amy's. We see Hermes works his way under the rocks to avoid having to jump, but Zoidberg eats him. [I just shrugged at that.] Fry refuses to release his goods without Leela around, though everyone else around him is dying. Fry tries to jump over to the other stream but beaches himself. Fortunately, a bear eats Zapp and is going after Fry when his wife chastises him, allowing Fry to find Leela before she dies. [yeah, this was a segment, guys... not making this up.]

"The Pinta Island Tortoise" take place in the Galapagos Islands, where Zoidberg is the blue-footed booby, the Professor is a special tortoise, Bender is an iguana, the Robot Mafia is a snake, and Fry, Hermes, Leela, and Amy are birds. The Professor travels 100 feet in search of a mate, and, eighteen months later (the lifecycle of several generations of birds, apparently), he makes it, thinking a rock is his long-lost tortoise love. "Mom" is the real "other tortoise," and they mate, leaving three eggs as their legacy. Four to eight months later, the babies are born, only to be rolled over by a rock. [figures.]

"The Elephant Seal" has Bender as a large seal with whom all of the females mate. Hermes, Kip, Fry, the Professor, and a flamboyant seal are weaker seals who decide to try and mate with the females while Bender is asleep. But they have to impress the ladies, and Kip dives to bring Amy an exotic squid played by Zoidberg. [Also, Nibbler plays a small fish in the abyss.] Bender isn't happy about Kip going for Amy, but Kip "challenges" Bender to a duel, eventually dying from the two throwing their bodies at one another for hours. [eep!] New litters are born, with one small elephant seal resembling each of the other weaklings.
photo credit: Futurama TM and © 2012 Twentieth
Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
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