EPISODE REVIEW: Futurama: “The Late Philip. J. Fry” (Season 6, Episode 7)

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Ok, this one was pretty clever. I didn’t exactly scream in laughter or anything, but if it wasn’t astoundingly funny, it was at least pretty fun.

In short: Fry is always late for everything, generally for good-but-ineffectual reasons. He stands Leela up for her birthday lunch, then promises to make it up to her at dinner in Cavern on the Green, a cave restaurant. In the green. I guess. Anyway, on leaving work, the professor pressgangs him and Bender into helping him test his one-way-only time machine. The plan is to head one minute into the future, then Fry can get out and go to dinner.

Of course things get screwed up while Fry’s recording a birthday greeting card for Leela, and they end up in the year 10,000, which pretty much blows. They decide to head further into the future until they meet a civilization that’s developed the “Backwards time machine,” and we’re treated to a gag-filled montage of goofy civilizations set to a parody of “In the Year 2525” by Zager and Evans*. They have several close calls where they *almost* make it - an Eloi-like civilization nearly has it, but is destroyed by a Morlock-like civilization, a world of hot brilliant chicks intend to let the guys use their backwards time machine after the orgy, but Bender’s in a bad mood and forces them even further into the future.

All of this is intercut with Leela’s life after Fry: she seizes control of the company and builds it into a megacorp. She marries and divorces Q-bert. She gets hit in the head by Fry’s card, which fell out the window of the time machine in 3010. Realizing she’s hated him her entire life for no real reason, she heads to Cavern on the Green, now abandoned (It’s about 3050 or 3060) and carves holes into the ceiling of the cave.

Meanwhile, in the year one billion, the earth is completely dead. Fry goes walking around depressed, and finds Cavern on the Green (Which totally wouldn’t be there based on current geological theory, and the amount of time and weathering involved here, but as it’s a freakin’ cartoon sitcom I’m gonna’ let that slide) and finds that the holes Leela cut in the ceiling let water drip through in a way that spelled out a message to him in stalactites. Or possibly stalagmites. I can never keep that straight. I think it’s stalactites, though. They’re the ones on the floor, right? In any event, the message gives Fry some resolve, so he goes back to the time ship and says “Let’s drink some beers and watch the end of the universe.”

The guys agree, so they do. After the end, there’s nothing left, and while debating what to do next, there’s a second big bang. Realizing this universe is exactly like the one they left, they take the time machine forward to get to their own time. Or really “Their own time Mark II.” They do stop off to kill Hitler, though. Unfortunately the Professor really can’t drive, they overshoot their own time, and have to go through the whole end of the universe/big bang thing again, killing Eleanor Roosevelt by mistake. They finally get to “Their own time Mark III” and accidentally kill this universe’s versions of themselves.

Fry goes to Leela’s dinner, and they canoodle on a bridge while Bender buries the bodies.

The End.

OBSERVATIONS

As I said, pretty clever if not particularly funny. I liked the video card, particularly the way the last bit of the video card message showed a POV shot of the card hitting elderly Leela in the back of the head. The stalactites (or possibly stalagmites) were pretty clever, too, though that totally wouldn’t have worked.

The 2525 song gag was probably the best way to go about doing the montage, but I still felt it dragged a bit, and was rather self-conscious.

Bender’s pretend-need for privacy while having sex with a girlbot while actually wanting everyone to know about it got the only laughs of the night from me - the construction noises, and of course the “Hambone Break.”

The “end of the universe” thing I actually did see coming (I’ve been a geek for a looooooooong time. I’ve seen most everything at least once), but I didn’t see it coming twice. That was pretty funny, though not really funny enough to laugh at. SCTV funny, you know? Not Monty Python funny. Funny in concept, not “Oh, my sides! You’re killing me!” funny.

They’re a little inconsistent with Leela’s rage. Initially they think that Fry et al died in the meltdown of a stripperbot that killed everyone at a bachelor party, but then later on that thread almost seems to jump a track when she seems to resent him for disappearing as though he stood her up. Of course this *probably* means that if he hadn’t’ve stood her up, he wouldn’t have died at the atomic orgy, so she resents him for that. This isn’t telegraphed very well, however, and they coulda’ shoulda’ tightened that up a bit more.

I love that not only is Fry late a lot, in this episode he's as late as it's possible to be - twice! He's so late he ends up early.

Best line in the episode:

“I can throw up on a stripper any time. I wanna’ spend the night not throwing up on you!”

There’s lots and lots of Easter eggs of various old movies, and flashes of old episodes. If you’ve got a pause button, and no real life** there are many rewards for you here.

And that’s about it, folks, g’night.

WILL CONSERVATIVES LIKE THIS?

[Laughing] No.

They’ll probably hate this episode less than they hated the Pro-Gay Message episode*** a couple weeks ago, however.

*- for some reason, I always want to call them “Zagler and Barnes.” I don’t know why.

**- Would you be reading this if you had a life? Probably not.

*** - I know what you’re thinking, but t wasn’t an episode in favor of Gays getting messages.

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