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Friday, June 24, 2011

Futurama: AKA An Admition of Geekdom

I am one of those people who LOVED Futurama the first time around. I watched the original episodes, maybe not with the same rabid MUST WATCH syndrome I have for shows now a days, but the point is I watched & really enjoyed. And back when I was in college & it played on Adult Swim every night one of my really good guy friends & I would curl up somewhere & watch together. And when they showed a marathon? Forget about it, we were unreachable for the night, well except for the 1/2 hour they showed "Jurassic Bark" neither of us could really bring ourselves to watch that episode again. If you've watched the episode, you totally know why.

And after college, when we heard of the movies that were being developed we were ecstatic. Finally we were getting an ending to one of our favorite shows! The first one, Bender's Big Score, was definitely my favorite with all it's little references to the original series. Ok, I admit it, I'm a dork, those kinda things make me happy. Still the three other movies that followed were entertaining and I happily bought & watched each one. They wrapped up the series in, at least what I felt was, a completely satisfying way.

Then came the announcement that Comedy Central had acquired the rights to the Futurama reruns, & a short time later that the entire cast was reuniting for brand new episodes and while I wasn't sure where they were gonna go with it, I was still happy for new episodes.

I think maybe why I love Futurama so much is because it is such a smart show. Sure there are the fun silly episodes, like "Less than Hero", where after using a cream given to them by Zoidberg, Fry & Leela are given super powers & they team up with Bender to become Super Heroes, complete with theme song. I still crack up over there being a crab villain named "Citizen Snips"! Or "How Hermes Requisitioned his Groove Back" where Hermes ends up singing about the joys of bureaucracy.

But the show also has a lot of deeper character driven episodes, like the infamous "Jurassic Bark" about Fry's dog Seymour, or "The Devil's Hands are Idle Playthings", where Fry makes a deal with the Robot Devil so he can play the holophoner & impress Leela, & one of my all time fave sappy episodes, "The Sting", with the Space Honey (seriously I won't say anymore on that one because it'll ruin it, but seriously if you haven't seen it yet, GO WATCH!).

Though I don't think I even noticed the first time I watched the episodes, hey, my need to analyze & find symbolism doesn't usually kick in till second or third viewings of things, it is this character driven story telling that makes me love the show so much. It's rare to find an (American, I'm not talking Anime here) animated comedy series, with such a wide arc of character development. I'm sure now that I've said that someone could site examples of others, feel free I'd love to hear them, but Futurama is the only one I have seen.

So why the love letter to Futurama today? Well, because last night Comedy Central aired an full hour of new Futurama. It seems funny to be excited about an HOUR being a selling point, but unlike a majority of the TV I watch Futurama is only a 1/2 hour show, so that means we got 2 new shows, huzzah!

  "Neutopia" & "Benderama" aired back to back. The former being about the crew offering commercial airline service to avoid bankruptcy, and crashing on some crazy planet. Of course the patrons include some awesome throw backs from earlier episodes, the crazy cat lady, the hooker from Nutley NJ, and the construction worker with the heavy NY accent.  Of course mayhem ensues as the meet an alien, who first removes their genders, then switches them.

The later involved Bender using a devise that would create 2 1/2 sized copies of himself, of course this gets out of hand, & there are millions of tiny Benders roaming the earth creating havoc. Also there was a giant ugly monster who ends up raining destruction upon New New York.

Were they my favorite episodes? Hardly. Will that keep me from eagerly tuning in next week? Not a chance. Not every episode can be perfect, or a favorite. Hell sometimes you don't realize how great something is on the first viewing.

Through out the years, Futurama has, almost subliminally, made me invested in the characters. Which is exactly what a good show does.

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