The Future Is Now

Futurama is without a doubt one of my favorite sitcoms. The star of the show is Fry, a citizen of the year 1999 that managed to cryogenically freeze himself into the 31st century. There he meets his distant nephew The Professor who, unlike Fry, is an absolute genius at the age of 160 years. The ragtag band also consists of a robot bending unit aptly named Bender, one-eyed mutant Leela, lobster alien Zoidberg, rich girl Amy, and bureaucratic Hermes. Together they make up the team for the Planet Express mailing system, a perfect setting for continuous plots.

The jokes in this show have a wide range. Fry is the stupid one, but he had moments that crack me up, such as when earlier today I saw an episode where he and Leela were in the sewers looking for Leela’s pet and Fry lights a match to see and then screams! When Leela asks what is wrong, he just says “I burned myself”. Bender is the egocentric robot who wisecracks and insults everyone and everything. Hermes is the one who puts in subtle nuances about pot-smoking while at the same time being the bureaucrat of the year. Zoidberg is the sad-sack alien everyone hates on because he can’t do anything right, even though he is a self-proclaimed doctor. Amy is airheaded and the Professor is fit to mad science experiments and forgetfulness. All together the comedic mingling comes together in a fantastic way that always brings me back, even after seeing every episode. For me it never ran dry and I was always ready to watch the next episode.

This show satirizes modern society even though it is placed in the 31st century. The new minority are robots, even though almost all of them are self-aware. They are treated poorly and it reminds me that prejudice and racism are still apparent in today’s society even as it is boasted that it has decreased. I think it hasn’t decreased so much as it has just become more hidden. Robot-human relationships are stigmatized, which reminds me that gay marriage was extremely stigmatized at one point, and even today it is still in the same situation, especially among the older generations. The comedy sometimes takes away from the seriousness of the content, but closer examination will reveal the political positions of the writers and producers.

Futurama will always be one of my favorite television shows. Every episode is new in content and the way in which the characters interact to face them changes slightly too. Change keeps it interesting and the relevancy helps people to connect to the show.

  • Turner Arrington
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One Response to The Future Is Now

  1. mediaphiles says:

    Futurama is a great comedy, and particularly a great satire, but I feel that its strongest element is one that a lot of cartoons and sitcoms in general lack: heart. It’s got jokes in spades, and it offers plenty of biting political and social commentary, but there’s a sentimentality that runs throughout the series. The love story between Fry and Leela and the friendship between Fry and Bender, though mined for lots of humor, are also full of great emotional moments. That’s difficult to pull off in general, but can be especially hard in animation, and Futurama does it excellently, in ways that at times even rival Pixar. That heart is what continues to bring me back to the show.

    –Kevin Pabst

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