Friday, July 26, 2013

Futurama: Imagination?

What do you do at the end of the run of your series? With Futurama, the answer is apparently, "whatever you want." In the most recent two episodes, one is a collage of cartoon spoofs while the other has the Professor acting uncharacteristically to reincarnate a character. Looking ahead to the remaining six episodes, titles include "Assie Come Home," "Game of Tones," and "Stench and Stenchibility," illustrating that the most original writing may not be coming. That said, these types of episode do make for some lighthearted fun and they're not necessarily as raunchy as some of the Bender-centric episodes tend to be. "Saturday Morning Fun Pit" made interesting choices with the treatments of Scooby-Doo and G.I. Joe, as opposed to so many other classic options out there. I found the former to be done pretty well, but the parodies of the latter fell flat. With "Calculon 2.0," it seemed all too easy for the RobotDevil to hand over Calculon's soul, plus the extreme peculiarities of the Professor bringing the robot actor back to life seemed over-the-top and confusing. Or perhaps it recalls some of the character's very early tendencies, from seasons I did not watch?

Futurama "Saturday Morning Fun Pit" (S07E19): Nixon's head wants to watch cartoons at 8am on a Saturday morning, so he tunes into Futurama and Friends Sturday Morning Fun Pit. First up is a Scooby-Doo spoof, with Bender as Scooby, but called Bendee-Boo. [I didn't get it at first, actually.] Fry plays Shaggy, Hermes does Fred, Leela acts as Daphne, and Amy is Velma. Add in the vehicle being the Mystery Express and throwing Bendy Brew instead of Scooby Snacks at the guys, and you're set. In typical Scooby-Doo fashion, the bad guy is the only new person the gang meets, this time George Takei, the owner of a kabuki theater, acts as a ghost wearing a mask. [I feel like that mask was more lucha libre than kabuki...] Well, there's the obligatory guest appearance as well, with not only the Harlem Globetrotters but also a clone team of Larry Birds. [what happened to the clones of Fry, Bender, and the ghost??]

After there's some revolt against cartoons not containing lessons, Nixon tunes into Purpleberry Pond to see "Princess Purpleberry Meets a New Friend." [is this a Brickleberry thing?] This is one of those cartoons heavily relying on merchandising, as there are frequent cereal commercials featuring the purple cereal and its inevitable reiterations, adding more colors and whatnot. The show itself has purple characters meeting Lord Loquat, an orange Fry, for the first time. [watering plants with maple syrup??] Leela is the only one to accept him immediately, but when they all do, that's the lesson. [haha. I remember those cartoons... the ones with no real conflict. how odd they were!]
photo credit: Futurama TM and © 2012 Twentieth
Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
If it's not one thing, it's another. The people are angry about violence in cartoons, so Nixon fixes G.I. Zapp to run in reverse (vacuuming bullets and the like) and voicing over some of the (very obvious) words and phrases. The series even includes a PSA before the channel turns to six hours of golf. [haha, I remember that switch! also, amusing that ACRONYM is set to stand for "A Criminal Regiment of Nasty Young Men."]

Futurama "Calculon 2.0" (S07E20): It's been a year since Calculon's death, but the Professor thinks that they could restart him if they had both the body and the soul. Bender becomes a gravedigger and Fry goes to RobotHell to make a deal with the RobotDevil. It's easier than expected because RobotDevil can't stand the chattering Calculon, and, after a few hokie things, the Professor is successful at reincarnating Calculon. [this whole sequence was odd and seemed severely truncated.] Bender and Fry immediately try to get him his old position on All My Circuits, but the President of the network doesn't think it works anymore. He's actually been largely forgotten, and even his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame has been replaced by that for Robert Wagner. [haha, dig at FOX.]

Calculon decides to move on to stage acting, but he's received terribly, so he wants to give up completely. However, Fry, Bender, and Leela help him get back on track with it by getting him an audition for his old show, but as a new character. In disguise, he winds up getting a role as Calculon, purely based on his physical similarity. [annoying, but that's the way the world works sometimes!] He's an obnoxious ignoramus who won't listen to any advice until Leela tells him that he's just a grade-B actor who was forgotten shortly after his death. Of course, it soon doesn't matter, as he's killed a second time, though he does regain his star and his ability to torture the RobotDevil!
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