Futurama

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Futurama Skyline

It's real. It has to be...

Futurama? Yeah, I know what Futurama is. Futurama is what the world looks like in the 31st century, or a thousand years from now. I should know, because I saw it all myself. Me. Phillip J. Fry. There were talking lobsters, and a one-eyed alien that looked exactly like a human but was really a mutant. And I met my 160-year-old nephew that could travel through time but only forward so we went forward until we were really going backwards. Then there was a three-eyed monkey thing that was really a superintelligent alien with a booming voice. Also my robot friend met God. Maybe.

What? No, I haven't been drinking. I would, but my robot friend needs alcohol to stay recharged and burp fire out of his mouth. I know about it because I was frozen for a thousand years, but then I came back to here with a time travel code on my ass and...

Look, I don't belong in this place. See, let me explain...

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For those without comedic tastes, the so-called experts at Wikipedia have an article about Futurama.

I was just minding my own business, delivering a pizza to some Cryogenics place in the middle of Manhattan...

It was New Year's Eve, and I was a pizza delivery boy for Panucci's Pizza, voted Most Endearingly Awful pizza place on the Upper West Side four years in a row. I remember it like it was yesterday[1]. The ball was about to drop, and I was standing right there, next to an open freezer. Some guy who worked there must've forgot to close it, the janitor maybe. That's what I thought at first. Then I noticed a slight movement under the table[2] and before I could try to think[3] I was frozen in the tube! One thousand years later, I woke up and began my life anew, as a delivery boy.[4]

There was a lot of people that I met in the future.

I had a girlfriend. Her name was Leela.

She's a one-eyed mutant from the sewers. Only, she sort of is my girlfriend and sort of isn't. See, she was the first person I met when I was unfrozen. She tried to give me a job by nailing a chip into my hand, because that was the way future jobs worked.[5] Then I took a tube across Manhattan, tried to make a phone call in a suicide booth, met Leonard Nimoy's head... the details are a little fuzzy but I swear it all happened. I probably would have been overwhelmed by all this weird stuff too if it weren't for Leela. Ever since she attacked my hand, we've been best friends. And maybe more? We're sort of dating. Sometimes. I think. It's complicated. Or is it? Yes, it is.

Where was I?

Oh yeah, Leela. She's my favorite space alien who's also the only mutant cyclops in the whole universe. I even liked her when she became a guy. What? No, it not like that, I was a woman then, but then a rock monster came and turned us both back. I even once moved all the stars in a dying galaxy, under order from the Harlem Globetrotters, to prove how much I loved her, but time skips made her forget so she kept all of the AFC plates when we got divorced. So yeah, it's complicated.

My best friend is a robot named Bender

We go out drinking all the time, because alcohol powers his circuits or something, and I just love forgetting about my day.[6] He helps out with me and Leela on our deliveries and adventures, even though his only programmed function is bending. His personality, though, is something else entirely. Sure, he can be fun on a bun, but his shiny metal ass is evil. Imagine the robot Devil, then imagine something completely different because the Robot Devil exists too. I swear he does. We traded hands once.

Hey! I told you to stop writing on that pad!

Bender is sort of my "breakout friend," in that we always ends up in big messes and he is pretty good at breaking us out. Usually he's the one who lands us in that mess to begin with, like when his psychopathic robot friend Roberto involved us in a bank robbery and I got brainwashed into thinking I was a robot, but he's a good friend for eventually realizing his mistake and helping out. Sometimes...

Then there's Hermes, the Professor, Amy, Dr. Zoidberg

Hermes is a bureaucrat, kind of Jamaican, except from an alien planet. Which is strange, but I don't question it. Amy is Chinese-ish and from Mars. She's my ex-girlfriend, actually.[7] Zoidberg is the doctor for the crew. He doesn't have any thumbs which makes things difficult sometimes (He's a giant alien lobster, you see,) but he's a fun guy still. A bit of a coward, but who isn't? And the Professor, Professor Farnsworth? Boy, that guy's a genius. He makes doomsday devices, you know, and tons of other nifty gadgets too. I'm not sure if most of them work actually, because he doesn't let us use them much. Still when they do work: jimminy jillikers! I'm actually related to him too. That's a long story though. There's about six hundred "great"s involved.

I work with them all at the company. Which reminds me...

Pic00214

He may own a bunch of fancy velour miniskirts, but he's still did the worst Kinks cover I've ever heard.

The Zapp Brannigan

He was the captain of Planet Express once, but aside from that one time he's just some fat military guy who had sex with Leela before we started maybe-dating. In some ways I guess this makes him sort of my role model? He taught me how to hit on giant Amazonian women, like a real man's man. Seduction, sex, suicide missions... Zapp knows all the slick moves by heart. We usually run into him and his right-hand-little-green-man Kif, who also happened to be Amy's boyfriend until he got killed fighting an interdimensional tentacle monster, but he's okay now.

Oh yeah! The adventures!

Look, I really should get back to my job at the delivery company.

Oh, what delivery company you ask? You know. Planet Express. They don't pay me very well, but I don't mind. We have tons of adventures, and I guess that counts for something. Well, for example, there was

The time I found out where Slurm comes from

Slurm is this drink in the future. Did I not mention that? Anyway, it's really popular in the future. It's sweet, gooey, and suuuper addictive. So they were having this contest to tour the factory, which I won, completely by accident. It was really cool, we were on this boat, travelling down this river completely made of Slurm. There were Slurm fountains, waterfalls, and Slurms Mckenzie (he's the giant worm mascot) was wearing this crazy purple suit with a purple tophat, and singing all these songs and stuff. [8] Anyway, but the thing was, that this wasn't the real Slurm factory. No, see me, Leela and Bender, we found out where the real Slurm factory entrance was, hidden in some tunnel somewhere, and it was messed up, man. We found out that Slurm just came out of the butt of a giant worm! Which, I guess, shouldn't surprise you, seeing that the whole place was filled with worms to begin with, but still. It was nasty. Then all the Slurm Queen minions locked us up, and they forced me to drink super concentrated amounts of the stuff, and Leela had to use all her karate skills to help us escape. Boy, I was lucky to get out of that one alive.

The time I met George Washington

He was just a head floating in a jar, as it turns out. That's how they do things in the future I guess. But he's not the only one. No, in fact they've got tons of celebrity heads just hanging around in different places in the future, lots of them in the Head Museum. One of them is the president, in fact. Yeah, Nixon of all people, isn't that weird? I guess you can't really judge him though, he does get the job done. But the weird thing about the heads though, is that they've got this crystalline opal stuff inside their jars that keeps them alive. And when you drink it, it makes you go back in time to whenever they're from. So then professor Farnsworth (my great-great-great grandson or whatever) gets mad about something, uses it, and what do you know, we're all back in Revolutionary times! We then went to where my ancestor lived, and then Bender stole one lamp. We were then teleported back to the year 3012, and realised that history had changed, and the United States is now part of the United Kingdom!

These two times I drank an excessive amount of a specific drink and ended up saving all of my friends from doom[9]

Fry Coffee

Coffee? Coffee! COFFEECOFFEECOFFEECOFFEECOFFEE.

I have an addictive personality. Remember when I was addicted to Slurm? You don't? But I just told you! What have you been writing down on that pad this whole time? Dick doodles?

Planet Express got this Slurm machine for the office and I got addicted to the drink again. I was able to put my addiction to good use when the crew got lost in a giant space fog. You see, my body glowed bright green from all of the Slurm, and we were able to make our way through the fog safely with my bright naked torso. It was like eating 100 carrots in a single day and beat the orangest man in the Orange Nebula at an orange-off. What? No, that never happened, it was just a ridiculous comparison. There's no Orange Nebula, that's just an unbelievable preposterous thing to believe.

Anyway, this other time Richard Nixon gave everyone 300 dollars after we stole trillions of precious jewels and silk from this spider planet. I spent mine on 100 cups of coffee, which made me ascend to a higher plane of being and rescue all of my friends when the spider silk caught on fire from Bender's fancy cigar made from the US constitution.

The time I fought the giant floating brains

Futurama-into-the-wild-green-yonder-20090225024339368-000

The giant brains couldn't read my brainwave.

I was the only one in the whole universe who could do it, actually. See my brainwave is pretty special because I'm my own grandfather, so when they try to make me stupid with their psychic powers, it doesn't work. So what happened was that Leela's alien pet Nibbler (who turns out to actually be a part of this ancient alien genius super race, pretty crazy right?) told Leela to tell me to fight their leader guy, who was just like an even bigger brain. Luckily he was hanging out in the New York public library, so I could write him into a book to make the brains leave Earth. We all had a party afterwards, everyone on Earth. I was a hero pretty much. That was just the first time though. Later I had to fight them off in space. That part's a little fuzzy, because my brain was wiped afterwards. I don't know how I'm even recalling this...

The time I went to Mars

Okay, so maybe the Giant Brain story doesn't sound all too plausible. But at least try to believe this one: I've been to Mars. Not only that, but I dropped out of university on Mars, which is owned by two rich Asians, whose daughter Amy works with the Professor. I slept with her once, while my head was grafted on her shoulder. Didn't I already mention this? Who cares, repeating myself is fun. People are paying attention to me! Yay!

Anyway, the Wongs gave back Mars to the Native Ameri- uh, Martians, after the Robot Mafia took over their casino. Actually, no, that can't be right... because before that happened, all the Martians moved out because of an ancient, terrible prophecy that sent Mars hurtling into the sun. No... wait, actually, the Martians left before that, because the one bead they originally traded their planet for was, in fact, an enormous diamond.

Hold up, brother. My memories are all out of whackadoodle. Something about that just can't be right! How could the Martians who left the planet twice, a planet hurtling into the Sun, decide to move back just to own a casino? It makes no sense! Am I... am I actually crazy? Oh God! Holy Zombie Jesus, what the hell is going on? Who am I? Are you I.C. Wiener?! HELP! HELP! HELP! HELP!

Fry crazy

WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAOOOOOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUUUUUURRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGHHHHH!!!!

A statement from Mr. Groening

Matt Groening

Hi.

When I first began my case study on this curious young man who believed he had travelled 1000 years into the future, I sat back and asked myself this question:

How on Earth would I get millions of viewers across the nation to believe his story? What's more, how would they respond? Confusion? Anger? Outright hostility?

Or a combination of the three?

Nevertheless, I knew it had to be done. The treatment of the mentally ill in this country had been steadily declining by the early nineties and as a notable animated documentarian, I felt it was my duty to share their stories, to give a better sense of humanity to these certain de-humanized segments of society.

It had only been a few years since the success of my last series: an investigation in the family dynamic of an abusive alcoholic (Mr. Homer Simpson), what the record books call the first "animated documentative cartoon series" in the world. I did not desire the fame and fortune that came with this. These were mere by-products, by-products of the same attention that began a movement towards the development of after-school programs and youth shelters across the nation. No, what I desired most was a sense of relatability: to make Mr. Simpson's story that allegory for the fall of man which we are all susceptible to, whether that is through drugs or other vices. A warning of the faltering American Dream pandemic across this nation's suburbs.

With my new series "Futurama" I had to accept one thing: Much of the populace simply would not understand. The simple fact of the matter is that Phillip J. Fry's peculiar combination of mental disorders is so rare that even fellow schizophrenics would not be able to relate to him. I decided then to make this series not believable, to demonstrate the sad absurdity of Fry's world through colorful avant-garde animation. Some may call this pretentious, yet as a proponent of so called "high arts", I say it is necessary, whether I get the message across or not, to have this level of artistry available in your daily life.

A colleague of mine, Seth McFarlane, who has spent the past 10-odd years studying and broadcasting the modern phenomenon of mentally handicapped patriarchs and their imaginary anthropomorphic animal friends, had this to say.

Cquote1 People often ask me what I want people to learn from my work. When I see the astonished faces glued to the screen at the end of a story arc which has resulted in four straight minutes of projectile vomiting, then I know my job is done. I'm finished. My audience has been reached, I have no business in telling them what to think and what they take away from it is theirs and theirs alone. Cquote2

I couldn't agree more, Seth. The artist can only do so much. And so, I offer you show, a learning opportunity perhaps, take it or leave it, it is your choice. As long as Fry continues to share, I will continue to create, to paint this portrait of insanity in its purest form known as "Futurama".

New episodes Wednesday at 10/9c on Fox Comedy Central.

Footnotes

  1. Records show that it was yesterday. Neuropsychiatrists have determined that psychosis has somehow severely distorted the patient's sense of time.
  2. Though this wasn't until later, much later, when I went back in time again after travelling forward a thousand years and joining an intergalactic delivery service - what are you writing down?
  3. You have no idea how long that takes sometimes.
  4. Future delivery boy. Very different. I have pride, you know?
  5. Until the future conveniently forgot.
  6. Also forgetting about my relationship with Leela. Or my not relationship? Our not relationship.
  7. Not my other ex-girlfriend. That one is dating Pauly Shore now. And by now I mean 1000 years in the future.
  8. The subject had recently viewed the film "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" at this point in the interview. It is believed that the plot has somehow subconsciously worked its way into his delusion.
  9. DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!!
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