Futurama Episode 9

Hell is Other Robots

“Do I Preach to You When You’re Lying Stoned in the Gutter?”

Title Screen

Recap

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

Analysis

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)

Futurama Episode 8

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

Futurama Episode 7

My Three Suns

My Three Suns is possibly my favorite episode of Futurama.  It has a good balance of characters and some of Fry’s best lines in the series.  This is the quintessential Futurama episode.  All of the shows best traits are present in this episode.  After some down to earth stuff the Planet Express crews goes on a mission to an alien world where they have a hilarious adventure.  It has equal parts Sci-Fi adventure and character comedy.  The episode also has good stories for all of the main character; none of them gets the full focus.  It is about how the characters react to their foreign surroundings and the outrageous situations they find themselves in.
This episode begins with Bender watching cooking shows, but is interrupted by Hermes telling him he needs to do some work to keep his job.  So Bender decides to become the ships cook.  On a trip into town to get supplies, Fry shows his gullibility and Bender his lack of concern over ingredients.  When the get back they find they have a delivery.  In his first attempt at cooking Bender goes crazily heavy on the salt, even in the water and everyone hates it.  He goes to deliver the package, but is so thirsty from the meal that he drinks a bottle of mysterious blue liquid.  He is soon accosted by some watery guards who claim that he has drunk the emperor.  By the laws of their land Fry is now the emperor.  When the rest of the crew arrive Leela berates him about his recklessness, but Fry ignores her and appoints Bender as his Prime Minister.  During the celebrations for the new Emperor, Leela discovers that the emperors have extremely short reigns due to frequent assassinations.  Fry ignores her various warnings and she leaves to go back to the ship.  Fry then recites the inaugural oath.  Just as he finishes the suns go down and the planets inhabitant begin to glow, including the emperor who is still in Fry’s stomach.  Realizing that their Emperor is still alive, they attack Fry and pals to rescue him.  The Planet Express crew barricades themselves in the throne room and tries to think of ways to get the Emperor out of Fry’s body.  They call Leela for help, but she reluctantly agrees.  On her way there she is attacked by the water people.  Bender tells Fry she is dead, and he starts to cry out the Emperor.  But Leela arrives and Fry stops crying.  So the crew takes turns beating Fry until he cries the Emperor out completely.
This is some classic funny television.  Fry is dumb, Bender is greedy, and Leela is responsible but frustrated by the stupidity and greed of her companions.  Zoidberg is a terrible doctor.  All of these stock jokes are at their best in this episode.  I love how this episode starts as a Bender episode with a Fry b-story, but halfway through drops the Bender story and focuses on Fry.  Bender’s story only takes half the episode to conclude, he is a bad cook there is nothing else.  Fry’s quick acceptance of the emperor’s throne and his moronically brilliant parable of “The Grasshopper and the Octopus” is some of the funniest stuff ever animated.  Zoidberg’s centrifuge idea to get the old Emperor out of Fry is the perfect illustration of his incompetence.  Bender’s has his attempt at being the ship’s cook fail horribly.  And Leela tries to keep the rest in line and in the end gets to take her anger out on Fry to his benefit.  The whole episode just flows together perfectly.  This is just one of the best episodes of any television show, ever.
Classic

Futurama Episode 5

Note:  Before I begin today I want to make readers aware that I am now adding a rating system to these reviews.  At first I wanted the written review to stand alone, but upon consideration I have decided that for purposes of keeping track of which episodes I liked and which I loved I will rate them.  The rating system is:  Bad, which means I did not like the episode much, Good, which means that enjoyed but did not really love it, Great being a particularly good episode and Classic, a rating to be given only to select truly unforgettable episodes.  Yes,  realize that three of these are good ratings, but I am reviewing show that I love so I do like most of the episodes.  If I start reviewing shows I do not particularly care for than I will add more bad ratings.

Fear of a Bot Planet

Futurama Episode 2

Title Screen
Episode 2:  The Series has Landed
Futurama’s second episode takes the crew to the moon on their first mission. Before that, though, we meet the rest of the main cast: Hermes, Zoidberg and Amy. Hermes is the resident pencil pusher, Zoidberg is a lobster doctor, and Amy is a rich intern. The best of these three is Zoidberg, who over the course of the show goes from being merely a bad doctor to being broke and living off garbage. Amy, too, gets plenty of screen time. Hermes always seemed the member of the main cast that the most underutilized, as though the writers could never really figure out what to do with him. He gets a few episodes where he is the focus, but none of the Hermes heavy episodes are classics. He is usually good for a line or two in crowd scenes, though. All in all, the second episode has more going on than the first, but the show has still not reached the heights it will later on.
The gang gets a box that needs to be delivered to the moon and Fry is excited until he finds out that the moon is now home to a tacky amusement park. He still longs to explore the barren moon landscape. It feels a little more serious than most other episodes, but it also has little past the initial exploring the Lunar Park. It does not connect to any of the big Futurama continuing plotlines, and there is no guest star of note which leaves us with an episode that finishes the set up from the pilot but is only memorable for its terrible amusement park. While the show is kind of forgettable, it does have some highlights. The mixed up history that is what the original moon landing has become is hilarious. From the Honeymooners as the first astronauts to the gophers and whalers on the moon all of it is down right funny. Also the names of common place things in the background contain some pretty good jokes, such as the arcade games Mortal Kooperation and Gender Neutral Pac-person and the redneck farmers hat the proclaim “the moon will rise again.”  And the topper is Bender’s little speech when ejected from the park; “I’m gonna build my own theme park, with blackjack and hookers, in fact forget the theme park.” A line he then repeats when Fry and Leela leave him out of the lunar Lander.
Episode 2 is not one of the best Futurama episodes, but it has enough highlights that even though the plot is a bit limp it is still an entertaining half hour of television. Mediocre Futurama is still better than anything else.

Bad

My first project: Scott tells you what to watch

The first thing I am going to spend my time with here are episode by episode reviews of the best television shows ever.  Right now I have about 5 shows I plan to do. If I do 3 episodes a week that will take me more than a year, so those five are all I plan to do for now.  The shows were chosen by the worlds smartest, most attractive TV enthusiast. (me obviously)  If your favorite show is not reviewed that’s because your favorite show is not that good, and, in fact, is probably crap.  I am only spotlighting great shows.

I bet that you readers, however few you are, are wondering exactly what shows I plan on reviewing.  Well here’s the list: Futurama, Arrested Development, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and Home Movies.  I do realize that I said I had five shows to do and that I only listed four.  That is not a mistake.  Maybe I’m keeping that last show secret as a surprise, or maybe I have a few different ones I choosing from and I don’t know which one will be the fifth. Maybe I want anyone who reads this to suggest a show for reviewing.  Or as a last possibility, maybe I already have a show chosen, but I forgot what it was while writing this and refuse to look at my notes to remember.  Whatever the reason, those will be the first 4 shows I will review, starting with Futurama as early as later today.