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Futurama and its Fanbase of Nerds


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!”


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