Futurama: “The Bots and the Bees/A Farewell to Arms”
Bender's a daddy and the world is ending. Welcome back, Futurama.
June 23, 2012 1:11 amKaitlin McManus
Good news, everyone! Futurama, arguably the better of Matt Groening’s projects (Simpson’s fans, quiet yourselves – it’s been twenty-three seasons, everyone’s over the town of Springfield), has kicked off its latest season with two back-to-back episodes. Let me say now that I really enjoy this show and I did like these episodes. I sound very harsh, but for the most part the episodes are par for the course for the show. However, the two shows in one week seemed a bit ambitious, if you ask me. Neither episode was altogether stunning. I have hope for the future, but in retrospect I feel like the creators should have focused their efforts on one half hour episode.
In a plot stunt that I’m surprised wasn’t attempted until the seventh season, Bender accidentally knocks up a soda machine named Bev in “The Bots and the Bees.” Being Bender, he naturally tries to abandon the kid, but Bev beats him to it. After a quick lesson in robotic reproduction, Bender learns how he makes babies and decides to keep the kid, dubbing him “Ben.” Surprisingly, Bender is a great dad to Ben. He must have learned a thing or two since that time he adopted all those orphans. Ben shares his father’s passion for bending, but since he only has room for one cartridge, his memory card, he is unable to download the necessary bending software. Bev comes to take Ben away, and Bender replaces Ben’s memory chip with bending software so he can attend a bending university. Oh, and Fry’s so addicted to Slurm that he becomes a human glowstick with radiation – it’s not as funny as it sounds. Now, don’t get me wrong – decent plot. But since when does Bender sacrifice anything for anyone? He actually cared for Ben, already a character stretch for him, and then he does what’s best for his son, allowing him to follow his dreams? Did someone reprogram him between seasons? I mean, it was nice to see him grow as a character, but the whole story just fell flat. Futurama has the capabilities to tug at our heartstrings when it wants (remember Seymour?), and yet this episode was bland and unmoving. At best the premise felt more like really bad, out of character fan fiction. That being said, some of the gags were actually pretty funny, and baby Ben was the cutest damn thing I’ve seen all week. Eh; you take some, you leave some.
“A Farewell to Arms” cashes in on this whole 2012 craze a little too late when a Martian prophecy predicts that Earth will come to an end in 3012. Fry goes on a quest for pants that leads him to discover said prophecy, which Amy kindly interprets – this being one of the most useful things she’s done throughout the show’s history. There’s only one spaceship available, since electricity has stopped. It’s a pyramid plane left by the Martians that runs on snakes (yeah, this is not the better of these two episodes) and only some Earthicans qualify to board. Fry tries to save Leela since he qualifies and she doesn’t, but let’s just say that random antics ensue, they both survive, they’re still not a couple, and their arms are holding hands in space forever. Get it? The title? See what they did there? Oh Hemingway, who knew? Actually, there was a really funny running gag throughout the episode where Leela would get hurt every time Fry tried to hold her hand. I’m not sure if that should be taken as a sign for their relationship or not – the prophecy plot made me question the validity of signs. Nevertheless, this episode focuses on Fry and Leela’s on-and-off relationship, making Futurama the only show to make me care about one couple for more than a few episodes since Friends. It was a bit weaker than “The Bots and the Bees,” but not by much. This episode, too, lacked that emotional punch to the face. Where was the emotion I felt when Leela was in the giant space bee coma and Fry kept asking her to wake up? It is so possible to invest in this relationship over and over, but this one just didn’t quite do it.
For the semi-letdown of this premiere, I’m giving these episodes a collective seven. They were pretty good, but not great. I think these guys still have a few jokes in them yet. I’ll talk to you kids next week.
|FIND YOUR GEEK RATING
out of 10