After nine long months Futurama returned to Comedy Central last night, but before we get into that, allow me to offer a very quick recap of the last season. Ready? The crew dies in the first episode, we discover that Bender is only alive because of Hermes and the Professor is only alive because of Zoidberg; the sewer mutants revolt, Fry, Professor and Bender travel the entire course of time, and Bender becomes an all-seeing, all-powerful computerized god.
“THE BOTS AND THE BEES”
What could be crazier than the events of the super intense (and REALLY good) season six? How about Bender becoming a father, and being kind of good at it? In “The Bots and the Bees,” the season seven premiere, Bender becomes a daddy to a tiny, adorable robot baby. This actually isn’t the first time we’ve seen Bender grapple with fatherhood. You might remember the scene in “The Beast With a Billion Backs” where we meet Bender’s first born son… For about 20 seconds, before Bender kicks him into a vat of lava in Hell. But now, maybe Ben, the son of Bender and a vending machine voiced by Wanda Sykes, will fare better.
The Professor calls the crew into work using the new Planet Express signal in order to share what he calls the greatest announcement in the history of Planet Express: He bought a vending machine. Bender and the vending machine, Bev, get off on the wrong foot when Bender finds out she doesn’t serve any alcoholic sodas. Meanwhile, Fry chugs a “Slurm Loko,” and then another to wash the Slurm Loko taste out of his mouth.
Bender takes his mind off his spat with Bev by bringing home two “robo-sluts,” but the mood is ruined when Bev scares them off by spraying them with Slurm Loko. Bender begs the sluts to stay and let him defend their honor, and then sully it on the couch, but no good. It’s the last straw– Bev and Bender, who says he’s been waiting all day for an excuse to hit a lady, square off and fight at Planet Express headquarters, but then things get sexy. That’s probably not the right word for it, unless you’re into robots humping (Which is fine. We don’t judge you here at Laughspin).
Fast forward to the next day. Bev gives “birth” to a little robot baby that looks a lot like Bender. Bender refuses to accept that he’s the daddy, but it’s undeniable when little Ben speaks his first words: “Wipe my shiny metal ass.”Bender makes an embarrassing admission. He doesn’t know where robot babies come from. Professor clears things up with a Robot sex education video. Here’s how it works: After a lady robot and a man robot share beer and hot wings at a gas station, they get intimate behind a Dumpster, and the man robot’s antenna transmits a binary file to the lady robot’s internal drive. After a few days (or weeks or months, we don’t know) a robot baby is made. The point is, Bender has no interest in raising his robot baby, and he hands Bev his official Certificate of Abandonment, notarized by Scruffy. But Bev beats Bender to it and splits, leaving Bender to take care of Ben on his own. After Bender figures out the key to winning Ben’s affection (letting him watch him bend things), the two bond over a father-son liquor store robbery, followed by a father-son bank robbery.
Ben soon finds out he is not capable of bending like his dad, because the ability to bend is inherited from the mother, and Ben has no arms. At Ben’s Bot Mitzfah, the celebration of Ben’s thirteenth day of being “left on,” Ben promises to follow his dreams of one day learning how to bend. But Bev bursts in, and she wants her son back. Meanwhile, Fry continues to feed his Slurm Loko addiction, and has begun glowing bright green.
Bender has already filled out his Certificate of Abandonment so Ben rightfully belongs to Bev. So, she takes Ben off to live in a trailer park and tells the little bot his father is dead, due to his face being eaten by rust monsters. But the still-very-alive Bender isn’t against kidnapping. So he shows up to take little Ben back and does just that, planning for the two of them to just sit around a campfire for a couple centuries. But the New New York peace officer team of Smitty and URL show up to return Ben to his mother, but Bender lucks out. Bev is knocked up again, this time by URL. Bev agrees to let Bender keep Ben while she raises her and URL’s new son, claiming “as long as I’ve got a baby to neglect, I’m happy.”
Bender is reunited with Ben and throws him a welcome home party, but Ben isn’t happy– not if he can’t bend. The Professor makes an offer. He can install a “bending card” in Ben’s brain, but he will lose all his memory. Ben accepts and just like that, he can bend, but has no idea who his dad is. Bender and the Planet Express crew rush to get Ben to the prestigious bending school, Bending State Santa Cruz, in time for registration, but the fog (in space?) is too dense and the ship’s lights are not bright enough for them to navigate. That is, until Fry, stripped to his underwear and glowing brighter than ever, comes to the rescue. They strap him to the front of the ship and he lights the way in a glorious bright green blaze of light. Ben is on his way to becoming a bender, just like his dad. It turns out, aside from all the robbery, Bender makes for a good dad after all!
And all is well. Except it’s not, and everyone’s going to die! The double-premiere continues with “A Farewell to Arms,” and humanity is doomed.
“A FAREWELL TO ARMS”
A violent rainstorm storm and a full-blown tornado, followed by sunshine, sweep through New New York in a matter of seconds. Something ain’t right in the magnetosphere, according to the Professor, and he launches a weather balloon to get to the bottom of it. The weather balloon, which Fry is using as a clothesline for his lucky pants (he was wearing them when he: found a dime in his ear, won a free subscription to Redbook and first met Leela), takes off and brings the pants with it. Also, they’re his only pants. Fry chases his pants into Central Park in New New York and fights over them with a badger. Fry chases his pants into a badger hole and the crew follows. “Look what my flashlight found!” screams Amy. She discovers a massive stone disk attached to a pyramid, and Bender rolls it back for examination. Oh yeah, and Zoidberg finds Fry’s pants. Hooray for stupid Zoidberg!
According to the computer back at Planet Express, the disk is actually an ancient Mayan calendar. Wait, scratch that. There’s some stew on the computer screen. Scruffy was “eating a can of breakfast and looking at porn.” The Professor wipes Scruffy’s breakfast off the screen and we learn that it’s a “Martian” calendar. And it predicts that the apocalypse is in 3012– promising fires, earthquakes and sharksplosions. That explains the weather. We don’t ever actually get to see a sharksplosion, though. And just then, the Professor’s weather balloon reveals a catastrophic sunspot cycle. New New York activates the “World Ending” billboard and chaos breaks out.
The electromagnetic storms disable all electronics (including Bender) and all of Earth’s spaceships are useless. Fry promises Leela a final grand romantic gesture before he dies (he’s going to find and destroy all copies of Tron: Legacy… Leela HATES Tron: Legacy), but Leela begs him to stop trying to do things for her. Every time he does, it seems to make things worse.
Amy, who can translate the ancient Martian language, interrupts Fry and Leela’s end-of-the-world sex with an announcement. The underground pyramid is actually a spaceship made of stone that runs on snakes, and Zapp Brannigan promises he can fly it. He just needs someone to tell him where to fly it, and how to fly it. But the ship can only hold 30,000 people, and President Richard Nixon leaves the “Choose-matron” to decide who is worthy to be saved. The Planet Express crew get in line to be sized up to see who’ll be sent to the safety of Mars.
The Professor (male, scientist, fond of crazy contraptions). Accepted. Amy (female, scientist, in the same sorority as the Choose-matron). Accepted. Zoidberg (male, medical doctor, delicious with butter and lemon). Accepted. Fry (delivery boy, no discernible skills). Accepted. Because Choose-matron likes his pants. Leela (top gun pilot, natural leader, extreme combat training). Rejected. With Zapp on board, another pilot isn’t needed. Leela, the only crew member to be rejected, is doomed to wait to die on Earth, although Bender decides to stay on Earth willingly, because he’s excited about the chaos and opportunities for looting.
Fry shows up just as the crew begins to leave, and reveals that he managed to snag Leela an acceptance ticket, but refuses to explain how. Zapp, Nixon and Agnew, the Planet Express crew and a couple thousand others take off for Mars, leaving the doomed Earth behind. But aboard the ship, Leela discovers that Fry didn’t actually manage to get her a ticket after all. He pasted her picture over his on his own card, and he’s actually back on Earth with Bender while Leela heads for Mars.
Leela and the others land safely on Mars and are greeted by the Wongs (who charge a $20 for admission), while chaos continues to sweep the Earth. Before long, the new Martian city, home to the lucky 30,000 Earthlings who were chosen to survive, is complete. Nixon chooses the name, Dick Francisco.
But as it turns out, according to the native Martian chief Singing Wind, who didn’t even know the pyramid/spaceship could fly, the doomsday prediction was for Mars, not Earth! Why else would the Martians be so eager to abandon it? Ten, 15 minutes max, until Mars and everyone on it is destroyed. Zapp has already had the spaceship dismantled and made into a statue, so there’s no turning back now.
Back on Earth, after some looting and some grave robbing, Fry and Bender sip liquor out of some human skulls (pina skulladas) on the Planet Express balcony and wait for an Armageddon that isn’t even coming. The giant solar flare careens towards Mars and throws the entire planet off its orbit and within a couple dozen feet of Earth. As Mars passes Earth, the Planet Express crew on Mars jump off Mars to the safety of Earth. But Leela, her leg broken from her fall in the badger hole in Central Park, can’t make the leap. Fry climbs to the top of the Planet Express building and reaches out for her. They manage to grab hands, and then lose them. Yes, their arms are torn off as they pass.
Moments later, Leela and Fry are back at the Planet Express building and are perfectly safe– minus their severed arms. We find out Scruffy saved the day. “Don’t thank me, thank the ladder,” Scruffy modestly tells them. Professor gets to work on “growing” Fry and Leela new arms, somehow. Meanwhile, Leela and Fry’s original arms float through space, hand-in-hand. It’s romantic in a VERY Futurama-y way. Also, I guess Mars is gone forever?
This was a very solid return for Futurama, and it looks like it’s going to be a great season. If you haven’t seen it yet, check out our (spoilery) Countdown to Futurama article on the next few episodes.
Catch episode three, “Decision 3012,” next week at 10 pm ET on Comedy Central, and find out if Richard Nixon is finally replaced as the President of Earth.