Futurama: A Review

By Brianna Baldwin

Futurama may not be a new show, airing between the years of 1999 and 2013, with multiple cancellations and changing of networks. Starting on Fox Broadcasting Company and ending on Comedy Central, Futurama outlived its multiple cancellations and is even now remembered and loved by its many fans. Fans of Futurama love the quirky characters, strange plot twists, and its satirical style humor. The show follows a lazy pizza delivery boy, named Philip J. Fry who is accidentally frozen for over 1000 years on January 1, 2000, and wakes up to a strange new world filled with aliens, flying cars, mad scientists, and mutants.

After being thawed and waking up in the year 3000, Fry meets a cyclops (as far as the audience knows at the time) named Leela as well as a robot named Bender. This group of three go on a search for Fry’s one living relative, Hubert Farnsworth (most commonly going by the nickname Professor), and find him to be a very intelligent scientist but a very strange man. Fry, Leela, and Bender join the Professor’s delivery service crew, named. This is where the three had met the intern Amy, Scruffy, the janitor, Hermes, the Jamaican accountant, and Dr. Zoidberg, the lobster-like alien who acts as the staff doctor. Typically it is Fry, Leela, Bender, and Amy who go on deliveries but the Professor, Hermes, and Scruffy have each taken part in deliveries throughout the various episodes.

Each of these characters have very distinct personalities that interact and clash with one another in the most hilarious ways. Fry isn’t very intelligent and regularly causes problems for the Delivery Express crew through this fault, but he is deeply in love with Leela - which is one of the main storylines (or subplots, if you will) that Futurama follows. Futurama does not have a specific plot throughout the entire series, but has multiple subplots, including the love-hate relationships between Fry and Leela, in a romantic way, and Hermes and Dr. Zoidberg, in a friendship/co-worker way. Leela never knew her parents and was dropped off on the steps of an orphanage as a baby. She was believed to be a cyclops from a planet not previously contacted before. Bender’s backstory is never really uncovered but he has a subplot all on his own. He is a robot built for bending steel and other metals to build suicide booths - which have replaced telephone booths by the year 3000. Bender has decided that the true mission of all robots is to “kill all humans,” but must drink alcohol as a fuel source. Amy was born and raised on Mars, a planet now colonized and farmed. Her family, the Wongs, owns roughly half of Mars and use it for farming, making them extremely wealthy and Amy very spoiled. Scruffy is more of a side character as no backstory is ever given, not to mention the lack of screentime the character has. He serves more as a comedic relief in episodes with more serious/stressful storylines. Hermes has a beautiful wife along with a son. His wife has the belief that her son needs a father figure in his life at all times, meaning every time Hermes has gotten into strange circumstances, leaving him unable to perform all of his fatherly duties, she leaves him for an athletic man named Barbados Slim - which has turned into a running joke. Dr. John Zoidberg is portrayed as the annoying coworker but is said to be an old friend of Professor Farnsworth. He is thought of as annoying by the rest of the Delivery Express crew because of his childish antics and social skill issues.

With all of these strange, colorful, wild, and conflicting character personalities, every episode is packed full of hilarious jokes and moments. One of my favorite parts of Futurama was the humor. Each character has different tastes in humor but they are all similar. Most of the jokes are thought of as “dark humor,” including self-depreciating, but other jokes rely on satire, comparisons to the present, surreal humor, and slapstick humor. A sizable amount of jokes are also scientific. One example of this is an episode in which Professor Farnsworth attends a race. At the racetrack, the Professor complained about how the judges decide on the winner of the race through the use of a quantum finish by saying “No fair! You changed the outcome by measuring it,” which is a reference to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.

Futurama is a show that I would recommend to anyone asking. Between the characters, the humor, and the wide variety of events throughout the entire series, Futurama is a wonderful show that can keep the audience entertained and laughing for hours.