He belongs in the Jungle. Or in the circus on one of those tiny tricycles. Now that’s entertainment.
Mars University stands as the only episode–of the original run at least–to actually show Professor Farnsworth actually being a professor. While not a specific parody of any one college comedy, it does reference many of them, most prominently Animal House. This is not one of the great Futurama episodes; it is very good, but too much of it stands apart from the rest of the series. Gunter is not featured again, though he does appear a few times. Professor Farnsworth never again does much that is professorly. Fry is always dumb, though. Mars University is entertaining on its own merit, but it is one of the least essential episodes.
It starts with a “Good News” from the Professor and a delivery, of some sort if live cargo, to himself at Mars University. While there Bender spies a chapter house of his old fraternity Epsilon Rho Rho (ERR) and goes over to check it out, only to find it populated by nerds. Nerds who have heard the legends of Bender “from Bending State” Bender. So he agrees to help them improve their reputation. And so begins the “B” story: Bender and his new friends Oily, Gearshift and Fatbot reenacting scenes from Animal House and other college movies.
In the start of the “A” story, Fry becomes nostalgic for his brief college life, before receiving his Notice of Failure to Graduate from Coney Island Community College. (Go Whitefish!) Unfortunately, Leela and the Professor inform Fry that by the new academic standards he is a merely a high school drop out. So he decides to enroll and drop out all over again. He is roomed with Gunter, a monkey with an intelligent hat and who is the Professor’s experiment. The two of them immediately start feuding. Mostly due to the fact that Fry is too stupid to even pass a class on 20th century history.
While Fry and Gunter fighter over girls and Fry’s stupidity, Bender and friends keep up the Futurama staple of doing generic comedy that is just a bit funnier due to the inclusion of robots. Both stories are very funny, but not really up there with the greatest Futurama Episodes. There are some great gags, especially involving the rival Snooty House. Also there is a humorous side-gag of the sad fate of the financial aid dorm sign. I may be wrong, but I think this is the first time Bender uses the phrase “Cheese It.” Bender eventually helps ERR win a regatta and get off of “dodecatuple secret probation” while Fry “helps” Gunter realize that he is most happy as a monkey of only moderate intelligence.
In the end, this is one of the most average Futurama episodes. There are great moments, like Fry’s laughter when Gunter puts the hat in his butt even though they need Gunter to put on the hat to save their lives or Farnsworth’s lip-smacking at the idea of eating Gunter when they think he is dead, but all Futurama has great moments. There just isn’t anything to put this episode up there with the great ones. It is the definition of middle of the road.
- “It could very well win me the Nobel Prize” “In what field?” “I don’t care, they all pay the same.”
- “The Mathematics of Wonton Burrito Meals”
- “Pretty nice for a single; two desk, two chairs, two beds.”
- “So by process of elimination the electron must taste like grape-ape”
- “Why? Why? Why didn’t I break his legs?”
- “Consider the philosophical and metaphysical ramifications of..” “Banana! banana! Banana!”