Hell is Other Robots
“Do I Preach to You When You’re Lying Stoned in the Gutter?”
Hell is Other Robots starts with Fry, Leela and Bender attending a Beastie Boys concert where Bender sees an old friend who takes him back stage to meet the band, and party with some other robots. There Bender “Jacks On”, plugging himself in and getting too much electricity, and being Bender becomes immediately hooked on what is essentially robot drugs. When the electricity bills go through the roof, everyone but Fry suspects Bender. After a quick trip to Sicily 7, the mob planet, Bender detours the ship through an electrical disturbance to get high. The crew stages an intervention in order to get Bender to change his ways, and while he is contemplating what they said, he uses the sign for the Church of Robotology for his next fix. This leads to Bender joining said church, much to the bewilderment of the rest of the cast. Bewilderment and annoyance, as the crew finds Benders new morals just as his old lack thereof. They soon grow fed up enough with Bender’s newfound piousness that they take him to Atlantic City to reacquaint him with his sleazy side. The plan is almost immediately successful and Bender goes on a depraved romp through the city. But by the terms of his Baptism he is now doomed to robot hell so the Robot Devil comes to collect him. Fry and Leela mount a rescue while the Robot Devil performs a rousing musical number. After a brief fiddle contest, the episode ends with the crews escape and Bender learning not to be too good or too evil
This is one of Futurama’s stock episodes; take Bender and put him into a crazy situation. This, like most episodes in the first season, is like the first test of an idea that the show will do better in later episode. Fortunately, for Hell is Other Robots it has a song, which elevates it from a mediocre to a good episode. One thing that is really great about this episode is how quickly they get from point to point, even glossing over what could have an entire episode. Each of the vignettes that make up this episode, Bender on drugs, Bender is religious and the Beastie Boys concert, could have been stretched to fill an episode. Instead, they are distilled into small enough chunks to fit them into one episode. And the trip to the mob planet is bypassed. It sounds like it could have been an interesting episode, but by leaving it as just an idea, the joke is still there without getting old. The same is true of the parts that are there. By keeping each piece short, it includes only the best jokes and does not allow the episode to feel stale. They do go a little too fast that each part is not quite long enough. That balance is better in later Bender episodes, like Bend Her, Bender Should Not Be Allowed on Television. The animation continues to improve, and the writers seem to be settling in with the characters. Fry tells one of his long and pointless stories that has little to do with his point. Leela continues to be levelheaded but occasionally more interested in expedience over what is right. And it ends with a song. Every episode that features a song is better because of it. The Robot Devil is little used, but he is fun when he shows up. Hell is Other Robots seems like something of a prototype for better episodes, but it is not bad, just not quite as good a Futurama eventually got.
Great (bumped from Good due to song)