Futurama Returns to Comedy Central

Futurama opened its seventh season with two episodes on Wednesday night. Using futuristic settings to bring a satirical commentary on current popular culture, the show seems as good as ever. In its second season on Comedy Central, it seems more likely than ever that it will enjoy success for years to come.

Spoiler Alert!

The hour opened with a hilariously overblown red alert from Professor Farnsworth summoning the Planet Express crew. As it turns out, he installed a new soda machine. The crew was thrilled. This opening scene was very enjoyable and loyal to the usual dynamic of the group having disproportionate emotional reactions to what is happening around them. This seemed from the start like it was going to be a great episode.

The soda machine would factor heavily in the plot as it is a sentient robot. The female robot keeps serving Fry sodas until he glows a bright green. She is also a robot for Bender to contend with. While she and Bender are arguing, they start getting physical. After pushing each other against the wall, they both start to enjoy it and have robot sex.

The next day, while Fry is continuing his soda binge, a robot baby falls into his cup. The crew realizes it looks like Bender, but evidently, Bender had no idea where robot babies came from. At this point, the show is doing a great job showcasing Bender’s utter cluelessness and impending failure as a father. The interesting part is that he doesn’t fail, despite Leela’s sincerely comforting words that he would be a deadbeat dad. When planning to abandon the baby, the soda machine gets fed up and challenges him to raise the baby alone. He does quite well and develops an emotional attachment to the baby, who loves bending just like his dad. The problem is bending is inherited on the mother’s side and the soda machine did not have arms. It’s completely ridiculous, but the show sells the supposed drama very well. As much of a stretch this episode was, it was amusing to see Bender go from the drunk slacker he usually is to take on the role of proud and concerned father. The unrealistic character development was the driving force for this episode.

The next episode revolved around an apocalypse prophecy similar to that of the Mayan calendar. After Amy finds a pyramid with ancient Martian writing, she discovers predictions that the world will end in 3012, which is the current year. As everybody scrambles to get to Mars before the sun explodes, this episode really made use of common apocalypse movie conventions and was a very well executed parody. The main plots were that Fry kept failing to be noble and heroic for Leela and that Bender preferred staying on Earth for the impending doom.  The repeated line of “grab my hand!” in a fit of desperation is a common apocalyptic line. Also, Bender prefers to celebrate chaos instead of scramble away. As a twist on both conventions,  the gags worked well. Fry ended up staying on Earth to sacrifice himself for Leela, but, in a twist, Mars is to be destroyed instead. As the planet is hurdling into Earth, Fry gets another chance to be a savior and his heroism works this time after numerous failures. It was somehow sweet.

Both episodes to open Futurama‘s second season on Comedy Central were both witty and touching in a satirical way. The show is unique as it has a tendency to let the characters develop. It may have been cancelled before, but with episodes like this, it doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere anytime soon.

Posted on June 21, 2012, in American Animation, Cable, Comedy Central, Primetime and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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