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Tag Archives: Futurama
Philosopher David Hume disclaimed the idea that man was “the rational animal.” He argued that a human being’s capacity for reasoning was as much a slave to the caprices of passion and the weakness of will as in the simple creatures his contemporaries looked down upon. He once wrote, “Tis not contrary to reason to prefer the destruction of the whole world to the scratching of my finger.”
I sincerely doubt that Philip J. Fry was inspired by David Hume, but in “The Why Of Fry”, he expresses a remarkably similar sentiment. In a pivotal scene, Fry learns that his journey to the future was no random mishap, but rather that the Nibblonians chose to cryogenically freeze him and send him a thousand years into the future, without his knowledge or consent, in the hopes that he would one day fulfill a prophecy to save the universe. Fry is outraged, and Nibbler pleads with him, “You were the only one who could help us. What is one life weighed against the entire universe?” Fry responds, clearly devastated, “But it was my life.”
“The Why of Fry” is about the relativity of importance, the way that a person, or an idea, or indeed the whole of existence can be magnified or shrunk in the funhouse mirrors of our minds. Fry is inessential to the Planet Express crew, but to the Nibblonians “the fate of all that exists and ever will exist” rests with him. Chaz has an inflated sense of importance as the Mayor’s aide, but when shown in a different light, he’s quickly revealed to be a puffed up nothing. Leela often feels lonely or isolated or uncared for, but unbeknownst to her, the fact that someone does care about her saves the entire universe from destruction.
Many explanations have been offered for the creative decline of The Simpsons, from standard seasonal rot to the alleged tyranny of former showrunner Mike Scully. But one of the most persistent theories has been that when Matt Groening created Futurama with Simpsons writer David X. Cohen, he took the best of The Simpsons’ staff with him. While the work of Cohen and other former Simpsons scribes who migrated to Futurama like Ken Keeler, Bill Oakley, and Josh Weinstein cannot be overlooked, the truth of the series’s fall from grace is far more complicated.
But it’s not hard to see why the Futurama theory is so appealing. Futurama came about right when The Simpsons started to lose its fastball. And though Futurama has had its fourth, and presumably final, series finale, while The Simpsons marches on, in many ways Futurama feels like the spiritual successor to The Simpsons’ greatest years. No other show has been better able to replicate the peculiar alchemy of Springfield—the combination of a cynical worldview, a devotion to absurdist humor, and an undeniable grounding in real heart and character moments—than Futurama.
Futurama is a television show for nerds. Oh sure, its old cushy slot next to Family Guy on Adult Swim may have attracted a loyal cadre of frat boys and absurdist-loving insomniacs, but the heart of the fanbase will always lay with the poindexters and nerdlingers.
That’s why I was taken aback by the glaring scientific inaccuracies in the most recent episode of Futurama entitled “A Farewell to Arms.” For starters, the Planet Express crew chased after a pair of Fry’s lucky (and only) pants, that have been accidentally tethered to a weather balloon. As the trousers and their pursuers passed into the far reaches of space, the balloon popped. But instead of Fry’s pants floating listlessly in the vacuum of space, they tumbled gracefully back to Earth, managing to land a hop, skip, and a jump from where they were launched, entirely unscathed from their trip back through the planet’s atmosphere.
Even worse, the climax of the episode involved Mars passing so close to Earth that people could jump back and forth from one planet to the other, and suffered no ill effects in the process. There was no catastrophic event or gravitational catastrophe from the two large bodies side-swiping each other. Nor was there any issue with the fantastic speed that the red planet would have to be traveling, likely resulting in a collision that would have devastated much of the globe, let alone the denizens of New New York. The entire exercise prompted me to utter a personally oft-used phrase that was originally coined by Futurama itself – “Windmills do not work that way!”
Space…the final frontier. Only a brave few have had the courage, the fortitude, and the SAG cards to lead a crew into the far reaches of the universe. We here at The Andrew Blog decided to salute the five finest on-screen captains to ever command a space-faring vessel. There were only two simple rules: 1. The characters had to be in charge of their ships, whether they formally held the title of captain or not. 2. Only one captain per franchise; one of the biggest problems on spaceships is overcrowding. With those grand limits in place, we present to you the five best captains that the galaxy has to offer.
At some point in our lives, we have all come up with some crazy theory about the entertainment we enjoy. It could be a hidden conspiracy to explain all the mysterious events of a series, speculation about a particular character’s secret history, or simply the thought that two seemingly unrelated shows share a common universe. Shows like “Lost” “Heroes” and “The 4400” have even encouraged this type of speculation from fans. The miracle of the internet has allowed people to share these crackpot theories with each other. Some of them are rather creative theories that would otherwise never see the light of day. In that spirit, here are four of my crazy theories about some of my favorite television shows (more…)