EPISODE REVIEW: Futurama: “The Mutants are Revolting” (Season 6, episode 12)

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This is both the alleged season finale, and the 100th episode of the series. I’d planned to make a snaky* joke about how it took them so long to get to that point, and how that averages out to such a low number per year, but the Hermes actually beat me to the punch on that one before the first commercial break So, disappointed, off we go to the recap

PLAY BY PLAY

To celebrate their 100th delivery (“That’s almost ten a year!”) Planet Express decides to hold a huge party. They make the their final package run - a mission that seems vaguely reminiscent of Chowder, with an exploding soufle - and meet Mrs. Astor, who’s husband was killed when the largest bus ever built hit a mailbox and sank through the surface of the earth, “Land drowning” everyone aboard.

At a benefit for underprivileged mutants, Fry accidentally outs her as not being an alien. She’s immediately arrested and exiled to the underground city, which is typically disgusting. More poop jokes than usual. Leela, as usual, gets all indignant and demands rights for her people. Meanwhile the rest of the crew (Save Bender) are dumped into the underground city for knowingly harboring a mutant. Again, Leela gets pissy, and holds a rally, with music by Devo, who are now *really* mutated.

Mark Mothersbaugh: “As long time mutants ourselves, we’re happy to do anything for the cause.”
Random Mutant: “Play ‘Whip it!”
Mark Mothersbaugh: “No.” [To the band] “Play the other one.”

The band breaks into “Beautiful World.”

Once again over-indulging Leela’s pissy demands, Fry jumps in the toxic lake, turning into a hideous mutant.

Bender, meanwhile, throws the best party a substantial animation budget can buy, including “A hundred hookers and a hundred Elvis impersonators who aren’t adverse to a little hooking, should the need arise!” He gets uncharacteristically lonely, though, and goes to find the rest of the gang down below. They pump all the sewage back to the surface, and Leela’s grandmother tells a touching story of how she survived the sinking of the giant bus because Mr. Astor gave up his seat on the Life Car.

Touched, Mrs. Astor asks the mayor to give the mutants their rights, and he decides ‘why not.’ Leela kisses fry, who then turns out to not be mutated, but rather to have been lodged in the mouth of a horribly mutated Mister Astor. The two of them hug, reunited after like eighty years.

Zoidberg: “Hooray! A happy ending for the rich people!”

Random Mutant: “This is a great day to be a mutant!”
Mark Mothersbaugh: “Well, technically I’m forty percent potato, but close enough! Close enough!”

The End

OSERVATIONS

Or is it the end? I’m a bit confused if this is the actual real season finale, or just the summer season finale. I can’t get a straight answer, assuming it makes any difference, which I guess it really doesn’t as the whole country is gradually becoming British. Sigh. The television institutions of my childhood wither and die…

“Bender, I’ve been to wangdoodles all up and down the galaxy but this one is the greatest wang I ever doodled.”

There’s an in-joke: at one point, Leela sees a huge bank of machines with workers. There’s an explosion that (indirectly) kills a bunch of them. The machinery and the explosion are deliberate references to this scene from metropolis:

The explosion is at about 1:45

Creepy, isn’t it?

There really wasn’t much payoff for the gemerald, given all the buildup, now was there?

A bit grosser than usual. Not gratuitously so, though.

I find I don’t have much to say about Futurama, observation-wise. I’m not sure why that is. The writing is dense enough to have a lot of gags going on at once, it‘s capable of subtext, though since coming back from the grave it tends to wear its subtext on its sleeve. It’s increasingly funny, and it is, in general, making better use of the animation than it generally has, and yet there’s not much going on here that isn’t on the surface. It is just a sitcom, after all. And that’s good enough, really. No, seriously, it really is. I’m not disappointed in the show at all. Excepting my disappointment at it not trying for more.

Joking! I’m joking! In fact, I'm overjoyed that they're still telling coherent stories, unlike The Simpsons and Family Guy. The show is fine the way it is, really, but there’s no cake under the icing. And there really doesn’t need to be. I will just eat the stuff, enjoy my resulting anaphylactic shock, and shut up. Until December, when the Christmas special airs.

How about you folks? How do you feel this (maybe) season of Futurama compares to ones in the past? Anything you liked, hated, were neutral about (“What makes a man choose a life of Neutrality, Kif?”) or whatever? Sound off below.

WILL CONSERVATIVES LIKE THIS EPISODE?

Yeah, I think so. There’s nothing to give umbrage, unless you’re the type of conservative who still thinks treating black people as equals was a bad idea, in which case you’re the kind of conservative we’d rather not have hanging ‘round here.

* My spellchecker kept changing “Snarky” to “Snaky.” I kinda’ like that, actually, so I’m gonna’ keep it, and use it, and regularly carve it into the stalls in public restrooms.

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