A Big Piece of Garbage
A Big Piece of Garbage is the first of Futurama’s “issue” episode’s, and unlike most shows that do issue shows Futurama’s are actually funny. It’s also the first Professor focused episode. Which means we get to meet another great returning character: Wernstrom, the “evil” version of the Professor, unless the Professor is the evil one. We also get to see that Farnsworth is even a geezer by the standards of other geezers. Plus, he comes up with not one but two crazy inventions, the death clock that never shows up again and the oft-reappearing smell-o-scope.
The symposium scene shows us that Farnsworth is what an old Fry will look like. In addition, the great slight that the Professor perpetrated on Dr. Wernstrom was an A- due to poor penmanship. Bender, who really does not have a lot to do in this episode, does get to were a top hat again. It sure is entertaining to watch the hat roll jauntily around his antennae. After Farnsworth’s embarrassment at the symposium, we get the real meat of the episode: the garbage ball. The video about the garbage ball is the first example of the great propaganda videos that appear from time to time to provide cheap exposition. Fry shows off knowledge of 19th century technology and his lack of knowledge period before we move on the next part.
I am fairly sure that this episode also contains the first appearance of Mayor C. Randall Poopenmeyer. Outside of his name, he is one of the least memorable returning characters, but it just takes one good episode of him to make me love him. He calls in Wernstrom, even though Farnsworth is right there, and they come up with a plan to kill the crew while destroying the ball. Of course, since the theme of the show is the Professor is old and forgetful he makes a mistake in the construction of his bomb. Once on the garbage ball, fry wallows in nostalgia for a few moments before they fail to blow it up. Back on earth, Wernstrom shows why he is the evil Doctor in this episode, by getting his instead of trying to save the city. In addition, Fry is disgusting. The plan of defeating garbage with garbage is similar to many such plots on Futurama, and it humorously undercuts the pollution is bad message (which is not really a message anyone needs to hear, it should be obvious). We end with a Farnsworth is senile joke, a Fry is dumb joke and Leela emphasizing that people never change.
This is a pretty good episode. It is not exactly an essential one, but there is no reason to skip over it. This is what I tuned in every week to see: zany Sci-Fi humor. It is a great episode for Professor Farnsworth lovers or big fans of Doctor Wernstrom and while it is not my favorite episode, I do like it. Great