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Futurama: Tropes I to N
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    I 
  • I Ate What?: "The Problem with Popplers"
    • And "Fun on a Bun"
    • And "T: The Terrestrial"
    • And Lrr. Watch his eyes dilate after eating the hippie.
    • And in "Murder on the Planet Express", where Leela eats Fry's kidney thinking it was one of Hermes exotic lunches. invoked
  • I Banged Your Mom: In the episode "A Clockwork Origin":
    Brett Blob: Hey Cubert! Is that your family mansion?note 
    Cubert: Why don't you ask your mom? She's coming over for a sex visit!
  • I Broke a Nail: Exaggerated on "A Clockwork Origin", where Amy complains about having just done her manicure, followed immediately by her losing a finger. Fry later finds it in his soup.
  • I Can Change My Beloved: Romanticorp tests pickup lines on women using test dummies. One of the dummies uses cheesy pick-up lines while another uses the line "My two favorite things are commitment and changing myself." The woman in the test chamber immediately falls in love with the dummy.
  • I, Noun: "I, Roommate"
  • If I Can't Have You: Melllvar from "Where No Fan has Gone Before".
    Melllvar: If I can't have the original cast of Star Trek, no one will!
  • If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten: Bender attempts to dodge this problem during "Bender Gets Made". Averted with Morbo: kittens give him gas.
  • Ignored Confession: Professor Farnsworth occasionally brings up that Fry is his uncle when trying to prove his own sanity.
  • Ignoring By Singing: From "Godfellas":
    Fry: You can't lose hope just because it's hopeless. You gotta hope more, then put your fingers in your ears and go "Blah blah blah blah!"
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Pickles, the oracle from "Law and Oracle" who gives Fry false prophecies relating to Bender so that he could drink some strong malt liquor and suffer brain damage.
    • Also invoked when Leela has surgery to give her two eyes.
  • "I Know What We Can Do" Cut: In "Time Keeps On Slipping", so the cut is a Time Skip.
  • I Resemble That Remark / Insult Backfire:
    Edna: Teach me to love, you squishy poet from beyond the stars.
    Fry: (horrified) I'm flattered, really. If I was gonna do it with a big freaky mud bug, you'd be way up the list.
    Edna: (aroused) Hush, you romantic fool. Engage your mandibles and kiss me.
  • Idiot Ball: As a sacrifice to the plot of Bender's Big Score, Fry for once had to pass this around to nearly every last member of the extended cast. From his much savvier crew-mates to the utterly devious (Mom, Nixon), to even the uber-psychotics like Robot Santa, there is no one of significance who does not fall for the Nudarians' transparent scams. Even worse, since all of them have morally absent moments, it never occurs to anyone to just kill the Nudarians before they can take their stuff.
  • Illegal Religion: The Church of Trek became an incredibly popular and powerful religion...so powerful it started taking over governments. Since The Trek Wars prior to the start of the series, any reference to The Church or its sacred texts are explicitly banned.
  • I'll Kill You!: Plenty of times.
  • I'll Take Two Beers Too: Bender.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: It's implied that eating people is legal.
    Joseph "Fishy Joe" Gilman: "After all, the only reason we don't eat people is 'cause they taste lousy."
    • And, of course, "Fry and the Slurm Factory" combined this with a Shout-Out:
    Fry: "Oh my god! What if the secret ingredient is people!"
    Leela: "No, there's already a soda like that, Soylent Cola."
    Fry: "Oh. How is it?"
    Leela: "It varies from person to person."
    • In "My Three Suns," the crew visits a Neptunian butcher shop in New New York.
    Fry: Wow! You have every type of meat here but human.
    Shopkeeper: What, you want human?
    • It is also stated that some species use "human horn" as an aphrodisiac, one film showing Neptunians grinding it with a cheese-grater.
    • "Glaxnar's Human Rinds: It's a bunch-a crunch-a human!"
  • I'm Melting: What happens to Roberto after eating a piece of Hermes' skin (which had become lethally spicy due to years of La Barbara's extremely spicy cooking).
  • I'm Not Afraid Of You: Won't work on Robot Santa.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice
  • Impossibly Delicious Food: In Fry And The Slurm Factory, Fry is put in a death trap to drink concentrated slurm until his stomach bursts. He can't stop eating it, even long enough to save his friends. When Leela frees him from it by dumping it down the sewer, Fry tries to chew his own arms off to follow it.
    • Slurm's tagline? "It's highly addictive!"
    • The entire Earth ends up with an addiction to Popplers. They're so delicious, people even have a hard time stopping eating them when they find out the truth behind what they are. Then again, in a society that has "Soylent Cola", that is not that surprising.
  • I Need to Go Iron My Dog: Parodied in the Superhero Episode. Three times in a row.
    Leela: Oh, I completely forgot, I left my apartment on fire!
    Bender: As for me, I'm late for my L.S.A.T.'s.
    Fry: And I can't take life anymore! [Leaps out the window]
  • Insane Proprietor: Malfunctioning Eddie, the robotic car dealer.
  • Insistent Terminology: In "The Thief of Baghead" Professer Farnsworth insists that the concept of "souls" is ridiculous and insists on calling it "lifeforce" claiming the latter term to be scientific. Though even he slips up once.
  • Informed Flaw: Calculon tells the protagonists about Project Satan, where the most evil car parts in the world were used to build a car. Among these were the window wipers of the car from Knight Rider. When Fry countered that KITT wasn't evil, Calculon responds that the window wipers were, it just didn't come up much in the show.
  • Inherently Funny Words: "Pazuzu!" Though it would be unwise to repeat it three times fast.
  • Innocent Aliens: Dr. Zoidberg, who thinks most doctors are poor.
  • Innocent Innuendo: In "Put Your Head on My Shoulders", Fry and Amy connect while stranded in their car. In the next scene, the recovery truck worker arrives to find Fry and Amy's car windows steamed up. Instead of having sex, however, Fry and Amy are merely playing cards.
    • The sex happens a few moments later while the car's being towed. "Wo-ho-hooo!!!"
  • In Spite of a Nail: In "Roswell That Ends Well", the Professor wants to take every precaution against altering history... right up until Fry sleeps with his own grandmother. At this point he just gives up and launches a full scale, laser blasting assault on the 1950's Roswell military base to get its radar dish while delivering what is probably the best line in the entire episode.
    Professor Farnsworth: Choke on that, causality!
    • In "All the Presidents' Heads", the Professor horribly maims (possibly even kills) his own ancestor, while Bender conspires to put himself on one of the first American flags. Zoidberg also meets Andy Warhol, who paints a picture of him. Other than that, it appears to have had no meaningful effect on history.
  • Instant Expert: When Bender temporarily becomes captain of the Planet Express, much to Fry's annoyance. When Fry lambastes him and accuses him of not knowing the first thing about being a captain, Bender instantly reads the entire manual and then uses the info to chastise Fry. Justified by the fact that he's a robot.
    Fry: Have you even read the captain's handbook?
    Bender: (flips through entire manual) I have now. And what's Peter Parrot's first rule of captaining?
    Fry: (defeated) Always respect the chain-o-command...captain.
  • Instant Home Delivery: In "The Route of All Evil," Cubert and Dwight order a pedal-powered spacecraft. The form says "allow four to six seconds for delivery." Cubert says it's more like seven.
  • Instrumental Theme Tune: Based on Psyche Rock by Pierre Henry.
  • Interdimensional Travel Device: Farnsworth invents the parabox which allows travel to different realities, including one where Fry and Leela are married.
  • Interspecies Romance:
    • Leela and Fry, though since Leela is a mutated human they're technically the same species.
    • A better example would be Amy and Kif.
    • And in the fourth episode of the sixth season Amy and Bender.
    • And Bender and Lucy Liu. And Fry and Lucy Liu-bot. Robosexuality is rampant in the future apparently.
      • Enough so that in Space Pilot 3000, Bender tells Fry to say he's Bender debugger if anyone asks so that people don't think their Robosexuals.
    • Everything in the universe and Yivo
  • In the Future, We Still Have Roombas: Bender lampshades this by complaining about small robots cleaning up the trash at a blernsball game (after he throws some trash), supporting his rant about robots not being in an equal standing with humans in terms of competitions.
  • Ironic Echo: Several examples, but a very prominent use occurs in "A Head In The Polls" when Fry realizes just how much of a bastard Nixon truly is and vows never to vote for him. Nixon's response? "Like one vote ever really mattered", a harmless phrase that was used as a minor gag earlier in the episode. This also crosses over with Wham Line.
    • Another example from was when Roberto robbed the bank by punching through a large plate glass window clearly marked "laser-proof":
    Cop 1: Don't try anything; this glass is laser-proof. (Roberto stabs through the glass)
    Cop 1: Fire lasers!
    Cop 1: (As lasers come flying back) Duck! Lasers!
  • Iron Lady: Parodied with Da Chief in "Law & Oracle".
  • Island Help Message: Bender can barely spell "HELP". Because he had used most of his rocks to explain who he was and how he had come to be on the island.
    "TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: I, BENDER, BID YOU HELLO! YOU DON'T KNOW ME, THOUGH YOU MAY HAVE HEARD OF ME, BUT THAT'S NOT THE POINT. LONG STORY SHORT... I NEED HELF"
  • Is The Answer To This Question "Yes"?: "Is the Space-Pope reptilian?" "Yes".
  • I Take Offense to That Last One: In "Why Must I Be A Crustacean In Love", we get this exchange:
    Leela: No offense, Fry, but you've become a fat sack of crap.
    Fry (indignantly): Sack?
    • Similarly, in "When Aliens Attack," Amy puts on a new bikini top:
    Amy: How do I look?
    Farnsworth: Like a cheap French harlot.
    Amy: French?!
    • When two truckers are insulting Leela:
    Trucker: Yeah, you're right. She ain't gots enough meat for a guy like me.
    Fry: Yes she does! She's loaded with meat!
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing: In the third direct-to-video film, Bender's Game, Frydo refers to Zoidberg's Cornwood counterpart as "it", to which he responds that he resents being called "it" and prefers "jerkhole" or simply "yecch".
  • It Runs on Nonsensoleum: Anything Farnsworth explains. Lampshaded in one episode when Fry cuts a Farnsworth explanation short by saying that it's magic. Ironically, that Farnsworth explanation was one that used real-world science.
    • "I've got it! The ship stays still, and the engines move the universe around it!"
      • In case you're unfamiliar that was based on the so-called "The Alcubierre drive". Which could, in theory, work just fine with faster-than-light travel. The show has regular examples of basing plot points on real science.
    • "In regular fossilization, flesh and bone turns to mineral. Realizing this, it was a simple matter to reverse the process!"
    • Also the Central Bureaucracy. An organization that runs on a combination of Pirate Code and Big Book of War philosophies, some of which their rules border on Calvinball mentality. All cubicles (at least the section that we see) are constructed in a hovering Rubik's cube. The lines are impossibly long, and those who have managed to go inside and are not bureaucrats go insane within minutes.
    Farnsworth: I've never been, but a friend of mine went completely insane just trying to find the bathroom.
    Leela: We'll need someone who's been there to guide us, then.
    Farnsworth Oh, I've been there. Lots of times!
  • It's Been Done: The creators have explained that Amy Wong was originally created to be a female character who was always hurting herself, thinking that it's typically only males who get to engage in the slapstick. They evidently didn't realize that there's already a trope for that. True, that's mostly a Japanese Media Trope, but it does have a Western counterpart.
  • It's Like I Always Say
  • It's Up to You: The Planet Express crew has saved the city/planet/universe from annihilation dozens of times. Sometimes this is justified with Fry's "special" brain.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Bender to Flexo's not-quite-divorced robot wife who remembers that she loves Flexo after all.
  • I Will Wait for You: "Jurassic Bark", which even makes use of the song that named the trope in the ending, which makes the ending even more heart-wrenching.
  • I Would Say If I Could Say

    J 
  • Jackie Robinson Story: Leela with Blernsball.
  • Jerkass:
    • Zapp Brannigan is smugness and sexism incarnate.
    • Calculon, until he gets some belated Character Development in Season 7.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Bender.
    • Fry's family. They're portrayed as complete boors in their first flashbacks, but later episodes (namely "The Luck of the Fryrish," "Cold Warriors," and "Game of Tones") reveal their kinder sides.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Bender gets a triple whammy in "31st Century Fox," when he tries to shoot the huntmaster.
    Bender: *sighs* I can't shoot you.
    Fry: Bender! I found your trigger finger!
    Bender: *reattaching the finger to his hand* Ah, now I can!
    (Bender aims at the huntmaster)
    Bender: But I won't. *beat* Not with so many witnesses.
    (The robot fox jumps out and attacks the huntmaster)
    Bender: *gasps* I can't watch... *telescopically extends his eyes* ...enough!
  • Joker Immunity: Robot Santa. He has paradox-proof hardware.
  • "Jump Off a Bridge" Rebuttal: Parodied in the first episode.
    Bender: I'll have to check my program... (looks away from Fry momentarily) Yep!
  • Jury and Witness Tampering: Played for laughs. At one trial against the robot mafia that Bender is testifying in, his lawyer claims jury tampering, then we're shown a mobster rewiring members of the (robot) jury.
  • Just Friends: Fry and Leela.
  • Just Like Making Love:
    • Parodied in "The Series Has Landed", when Amy is trying to retrieve the keys to a spaceship from a claw arcade game.
    Bender: "Come on, it's just like making love. Y'know: Left, down, rotate 62 degrees, engage rotor."
    Amy: I know how to make love!
    • After Fry first tries a delicious Poppler, he declares "It's like sex, except I'm having it!"
  • Just Plane Wrong: In-universe reaction. In "Saturday Morning Fun Pit", when Nixon's head has to quickly edit a tape of G.I. Zapp mid-broadcast, he notes how wackily drawn the team's airplane is:
    What the hell kinda plane is that?!

     K 
  • Kangaroo Court: Futurama has had a couple occasions where the crew finds itself on trial on a distant robot planet. In one case, the prosecution's opening remarks are, "The prosecution rests."
  • Kangaroo Pouch Ride: Bender's Game had orc spear-throwers riding in giant war-kangaroo pouches.
  • Karma Houdini: Bender sometimes has to face some kind of punishment for his behavior, but as often as not he just does whatever he wants without having to face any real consequences. In fact, there's a surprising amount of episodes where he's directly or indirectly responsible for everything bad that happens to the crew, and he gets away with it.
    • Lampshaded and subverted in "Three Hundred Big Ones", where Bender has stolen an expensive cigar and flaunted it at a fancy party; at the episode's end he notes "My story kinda petered out without me learning a lesson," at which point two cops recognize him from security footage and begin to beat Bender senseless while he enjoys this closure.
    • Made fun of in "Yo Leela Leela": after her ethically questionable actions lead to the Humplings getting healthcare, plumbing, and electricity, and all of the orphans being adopted and getting paid jobs, Leela simply cannot understand that everybody got a happy ending, and demands that somebody teach her a lesson.
  • Karmic Twist Ending: Parodied with the Show Within a Show The Scary Door. The best example is the one where the bookworm's reading glasses break after doomsday.
    Bookworm: Finally! Solitude! I can read books for all eternity! (glasses fall off) It's not fair! IT'S NOT... Oh, well, my eyes aren't that bad. I can still read the large print books. (eyes fall out) IT'S NOT... Oh, well, lucky I know Braille. (hands fall off) *screams* (tongue falls out, head falls off) Hey, look at that weird mirror!
    Bender: Cursed by his own hubris.
  • Kent Brockman News: Morbo and Linda. They're presented in a format similar to Kent Brockman himself, but with Morbo often talks about how he hates all other living things, especially humans. Linda, his co-anchor, often gives him airheaded laughs.
  • Kill All Humans: Bender expresses a desire to do this while sleeptalking, Fry hears him and is disturbed. "I was having the most wonderful dream... I think you were in it."
    "Hey, sexy mama. Wanna kill all humans?"
    • Whenever I said "Kill All Humans" I always whispered "except one." Fry was that one. (That one has its impact lessened by the revelation that it was just a hallucination of Leela's.)
  • Killed Off for Real: Calculon as of "The Thief of Baghead". He is briefly resurrected in "Calculon 2.0", only to die again by the episode's end.
    • Roberto in "The Six Million Dollar Mon." He does return, this time without explanation, in "Stench and Stenchibility".
  • Kill 'em All: Every short story in the Christmas special ends like this.
  • Killer Rabbit: Nibbler, and arguably the rest of the Nibblonians. They're tiny and adorable... and capable of destroying much larger opponents (including the seemingly invincible Brainspawn), running a secret society, and excreting Dark Matter. Though for some reason, they're utterly useless against the Nudists.
    Nibbler: Alas, our kitten class attack ships were no match for their mighty chairs. The universe is Doomed.
  • Kill the Poor: In the future, the unemployment problem was "solved" by making it illegal to be unemployed.
    • Also, poverty was declared a mental illness.
  • King of All Cosmos: The 'Galactic Entity', the closest thing to God in the series, displays signs of this.
    Galactic Entity: [To be an effective god] you have to use a light touch, like a safe cracker or a pick-pocket.
    Bender: Or a guy who burns down a bar for the insurance money.
    Entity: Yes, if you make it look like an electrical thing.
  • Knife Nut: Roberto
    Roberto: I was designed by a team of engineers attempting to build an insane robot but it seems, they failed!
    Vending Machine: Um, actually *Roberto stabs him*
  • Knight Templar: Robot Santa.

    L 
  • Ladyella: Leela calls herself "Clobberella" when she gets superpowers.
  • Lampshade Hanging: In the Futurama video game, when Fry turns on the TV:
    Bender: Has anyone ever noticed how Fry always seems to turn on the TV at just the right moment?
  • Large Ham: Hellooooo, Calculon. His hamming is ramped up to dangerous levels in "That's Lobstertainment!", when director Harold Zoid tells him he isn't emoting enough. His hamminess is on display off the stage as well in "The Devil's Hands":
    Calculon: Well, I do owe you for giving me this... unholy ACTING TALENT!
    • Zapp Brannigan. He's not an actor, but he'll steal the scene anyway.
    • How dare you not mention Lrrr... '''RULER OF THE PLANET OMICRON PERSEI 8!'''
    • Puny tropers would do well to list Morbo as well!!!!!
    • The Nibblonians. Not to mention that they would eat the Large Ham too.
    • "WELCOME, TO THE WORLLLLLD OF TOMORROWWWWWW!"
    • "I'M NOT FROM HERE! I'VE GOT MY OWN CUSTOMS! LOOK AT MY CRAAAAZY PASSPORT!"
    • Also Bender, from time to time. "And I... I can be an ACTING COACH!!!!
  • Large Ham Title: Lrrr, RULER OF THE PLANET OMICRON PERSEI 8!. He even shouts it when he's trying to go incognito.
  • Laser Cutter: Dr. Zoidberg uses them to treat people and in an inversion can use lasers to reattach severed parts of the body as well.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: In "Fry and Leela's Big Fling", Bender catches Fry and Leela out in Central Park at night during his nightly crime spree, and tries to mug them. Leela stuns him with a few kicks, then she and Fry relieve Bender of his night's loot.
  • Last Name Basis: Fry's full name is "Phillip J. Fry". This gets a lampshade by Amy in one episode. And Zoidberg (John).
    • Apparently this with Turanga Leela; but eventually subverted when we discover in that Leela's parents are "Turanga Morris" and "Turanga Munda", indicating that mutants arrange their names Asian style, with the family name first.
  • Last of Her Kind: Alcazar from "A Bicyclops Built for Two" found five of them and used his Voluntary Shapeshifting to trick them each into an Adam and Eve Plot.
  • Latin Land: The Tijuana from "Lethal Inspection" is a textbook example.
  • Lava Pit:The championship match of The Butterfly Derby(a popular Blood Sport) is fought over one.
  • Lead The Target
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In "Fear of a Bot Planet", immediately before a commercial break:
    Leela: This is a difficult decision! If only I had 2 to 3 minutes to think it over!
    • The entire opening to Bender's Big Score.
    • And in the first episode of the newest season, "It's some kind of new, comedy-central channel! And we're on it now!"
    • Robot Devil has a couple in the ex-series finale:
      • [after his own name is selected for Fry's hands] "What an appallingly ironic outcome!"
      • "Ah, my ridiculously circuitous plan is one quarter complete!"
    • Upon completion of the Fon Fon-Rubok ceremony in "The Beast With A Billion Backs", Amy joyously declares "Oh, Kif, this is just like a movie with this happening in it!"
    • In the episode "Bender Should Not Be Allowed On Television", the president of the network says "Bite my shiny metal ass could be a Catch Phrase" when explaining why Bender would be a great star for All My Circuits.
  • Least Common Pizza Topping: Causes a Logic Bomb to go off and make the robot waiter self-destruct when Fry tries to order it at Cosmic Ray's Pizzeria.
  • LEGO Genetics: The Decopodians contain parts of every known marine animal on earth, as well as every Yiddish stereotype imaginable, all wrapped up in the body of a six-foot-tall humanoid lobster.
  • Leonardo da Vinci: In "The Duh-Vinci Code".
  • Leotard of Power: Leela when she became a superhero.
  • Lethal Chef: Bender is a literal one, since he has a limited knowledge of organic biology.
    • Though to be fair he did make one good dish and the rest of the time he's at least trying.
    • If he's following a recipe, he can cook as well as anyone, but he tries to improvise. Without a sense of taste, he has no basis on which to improvise from beyond "throw it into the pot," which doesn't work so well.
  • Lethally Stupid: Bradigan, Fry and Zoidberg. Many other characters are this.
  • Lie Detector: The truthoscope used during the presidential debate in the episode "A Head in the Polls".
  • Limited Wardrobe: Lampshaded by Bender in regards to Fry:
    Bender: "You own one pair of clothes and you're not taking them off while I'm around."
  • Linked List Clue Methodology: Parodied in "The Duh Vinci Code" with Leela questioning the Professor's clue deductions, only to be angrily shouted down.
  • Literary Agent Hypothesis: Deconstructed in "Yo Leela Leela".
  • Living Crashpad: Bender has done this to Fry several times.
    • The Countess de la Roca (A Flight To Remember) did also, when she fell through the deck of the Titanic, but a family broke her fall. Since she weighs at least two metric tons according to Leela, things probably did not end well for them.
  • Locked into Strangeness: Parodied with Zoidberg and the space whale. He's so terrified that he grows hair just so it can turn white. Lucky for him, the third time around he stops at the "grow hair" part.
  • Logic Bomb: Averted with a Logic Bomb proof robot in "Mother's Day": There's a wax robot janitor taking a nap in the hall of wax robot replicas of famous robots Mom ever built. When Fry tries to figure why the robot would do this, it just ticks the robot off, prompting an even more bizarre explanation that does nothing but advance Fry's confusion and even frightens him a little.
    • More traditionally, Leela attempts this on Robot Santa. His head explodes; however, he was built with "paradox-absorbing crumple zones", so a new head simply springs up to replace the old one.
    Zap Brannigan: "I am the man with no name - Zap Brannigan, at your service!"
  • Logo Joke: 30th Century Fox.
  • Lonely Together
  • Losing Your Head: The heads in jars, Bender, Zoidberg, Hermes, Robot Santa (who produced a new one), and technically Fry (his body was damaged so they moved his head to Amy's shoulder).
  • Lost World: There's one under the glaciers of the Neanderthal Valley in "Fun on a Bun".
  • Low-Speed Chase: There's a chase scene at the Central Bureaucracy on "slowmobiles", hover-scooters that travel at slightly less than walking pace.
  • Luke, You Are My Father: Farnsworth is Igner's father.

    M 
  • Made of Evil: The Were-car in "The Honking" is made from the most evil parts of the most evil cars in history.
  • Made of Explodium: One of the bees crashes into the walls of the hive and explodes in "The Sting". As of the 2010 Christmas special episode, it appears ALL space bees are made of explodium.
    • One of Fry's fellow inmates in the robot insane asylum, Malfunctioning Eddie, tends to blow up at the slightest provocation.
    • After Zoidberg's slinky gets straightened by Bender, he tries to coil it back up and set it walking down a pile of books. It flops over and bursts into flames.
  • Magic Feather: Invoked and them subverted in "30% Iron Chef": Professor: Bender, the "essence of pure flavor" was just ordinary water! Fry: See, Bender, you just needed confidence! Professor: Yes, ordinary water—with a large dose of LSD!
  • The Magnificent: The water people's rulers.
  • Magic Pants: Alcazar from "A Bicyclops Built for Two" is ultimately foiled because he had to rent a tux that changes shape.
  • Mainlining the Monster: The favorite soft drink is Slurm, which is secretly 100% slug juice. As in, it comes from a queen slug. She and her underlings have built a powerhouse corporation by marketing this highly-addictive beverage.
    • This was invoked in a scene that has strangely disappeared from reruns. As Leela is being dipped into "royal slurm jelly" that will turn her into a Slurm queen, the queen's majordomos mention this:
    Majordomo 1: But your majesty! She isn't of royal birth, her slurm will taste terrible!
    Slurm Queen: Yes, I know. We'll market it as "New Slurm" and when people complain, we'll bring out "Slurm Classic," making millions! (Both give evil laugh)
  • Make-Out Point: In the robot Slasher Movie.
  • Mars and Venus Gender Contrast: Futurama milks this trope for all it's worth — perhaps a bit too heavily in the Comedy Central seasons.
  • Mass Hypnosis: ALL GLORY TO THE HYPNOTOAD!
  • Matrix Raining Code: How robots "interface".
  • May Contain Evil:
    • Slurm, a soda advertised with the slogan "It's highly addictive!"
    • The Popplers, which turn out to be the offspring of an alien race.
    • The Slurm episode also parodies this with Soylent Cola, the taste of which "varies from person to person".
    • Also Soylent Green. Yes, that Soylent Green. Everyone is quite aware of what it's made of, no one cares though.
  • Meaningful Name: A number of the cast's names are ShoutOuts or Genius Bonuses to some degree.
    • Philip J. Fry himself, named for the dearly departed Phil Hartman.
    • Leela's full name (Turanga Leela) is a direct reference to Olivier Messiaen's famous Turangalīla Symphony.
    • Zapp Brannigan's name shares resonance with the semi-obscure term "brannigan", meaning an embarrassing drunken bender.
    • Bender... in more ways than one.
    • And of course, Professor Farnsworth, named after the inventor Philo Farnsworth, who invented the television.
      • And revealed in "All the Presidents' Heads" to actually be a descendant of Philo Farnsworth.
    • Tonya, Bender's tap dancing rival in "Stench and Stenchibility" turns out to be an allusion to Tonya Harding.
  • Meat-O-Vision: In "Obsoletely Fabulous", Bender is stranded on a desert island without any alcohol. Seeing a gaggle of ducks with a six pack ring stuck round their neck. He hallucinates that they are a six pack of beer and attempts to drink them.
  • Mechanical Evolution: In the episode "A Clockwork Origin", Professor Farnsworth releases some Nanomachines to purify water on an uninhabited planet. Subsequent generations of nanites are more complex, and the situation very quickly gets far out of hand. In one day they become trilobites, the next day there's robot dinosaurs, the next cave-bots, then human-bots, and finally energy beings.
    Energy Being: It is our experience that all material beings are yokels.
  • Meet My Good Friends Lefty And Righty: Bender in the initial finale affectionately names his hands Grabby and Squeezey.
  • Merchandise-Driven: The Purpleberry Pond segment of "Saturday Morning Fun Pit" is a parody of this type of show. It keeps being interrupted by commercials for the breakfast cereal it's based on, and at one point becomes a cereal commercial itself.
  • Mermaid Problem: Fry encounters it in "The Deep South".
  • Me's a Crowd: Bender, in "Benderama".
  • Mess On A Plate: Bender's final presentation in the episode "The 30% Iron Chef."
    Morbo: The challenger's ugly food has shown us that even hideous things can be sweet on the inside. [Begins to cry]
  • Metaphorgotten: A lot. Zapp Brannigan and Fry being the more notable offenders.
    Fry: Bender! You can't date the ship! It would be like me dating a really fat lady, and then living inside her! And she'd be all (makes space travel motions with his hands) Vrrrroooom vrwooo bweeee zooom!
    Zapp: "If we hit that bullseye, the rest of those dominoes will fall like a house of cards. Checkmate."
    • In the Season 6 episode "Lrrreconcilable Ndndifferences":
    Scary Door intro You're taking a vacation from normalcy. The setting; a weird motel with a bed that is stained with mystery. And there's also some mystery floating in the pool. Your key card may not open the exercise room because someone smeared mystery on the lock.
  • Metaphor Is My Middle Name: Bending is Bender's middle name. His full name is Bender Bending Rodriguez.
  • Mile-High Club: Inverted in "The Duh-Vinci Code". While searching for a tomb underneath Rome, Fry asks Leela if she wants to join the "Mile Deep Club". She consents but they're interrupted by the Professor.
  • Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds: In one "What if" story, Fry destroys the entire universe with a time paradox.
  • Mind Screw: "The Sting". And how!
    • "Obsoletely Fabulous" ventures here too but more mildly. The bulk of the episode is just a long string of fictitious events in Bender's head to make him appreciate the 1-X robots.
    • "The Farnsworth Parabox" is all over this, starting with the creation of a box that contains a parallel universe (while simultaneously, the parallel universe creates a box containing the other parallel universe) and ending with the two Farnsworths somehow pulling each other's boxes through each other so that both universes now contain a box containing their own universe (and the boxes themselves are probably worth something as well.)
  • Mirror Universe: Parodied when one is encountered in "The Farnsworth Parabox." Though each set of Planet Express crews immediately assume the other is evil, the differences are mostly cosmetic; Leela has bright red hair, Bender is golden, and so on.
    • Played with, as our universe is designated "Universe A", and theirs "Universe 1".
  • Misfit Mobilization Moment: In Bender's Big Score, this happens in the climactic battle against the scammers when Hermes' head is plugged directly into the battlegrid. Cue Theme Music Power-Up and much ass-kicking.
  • Misguided Missile
  • Mistaken For Exhibit: In "Mother's Day", Fry justly mistakes the janitor (who happens to be a robot made out of wax) for one of the wax robot sculptures in a museum.
  • Mobile Fishbowl: The Professor's rival, Wernstrom, makes one of these for his goldfish as his entry for the science symposium.
  • Mobstacle Course: Bender's cow catcher on Freedom Day.
  • Moby Schtick: Leela becomes obsessed with hunting down the Space Whale that destroyed a previous Planet Express ship.
  • Modern Major General: Zapp, at times.
  • Modesty Bedsheet: Morgan Proctor, when she and Fry got caught having sex in Bender's closet, and then running out to catch a taxi with the bedsheet covering her when Bender figures out the truth about her.
  • Moment Killer: It's very common for the genre, but "Fry and Leela's Big Fling" is particularly filled of those. Fry and Leela want to have a romantic moment for themselves, and stay in Planet Express after everybody else left. Scrufy is cleaning, as always. They try to have a romantic date in Elzar's. Zoidberg works there as well. They try to be alone at Leela's apartment. Nibbler is there, and he behaves like a pet but he's an intelligent creature, so they are not "alone". Finally, they take a vacation to a place where they may be completely alone. Fry met Leela's former boyfriend, who was there with his wife and couldn't leave; and it was later revealed that the vacation resort was actually a "human habitat" in the zoo of the planet of the apes
  • Monster Progenitor: The Project Satan to all Were-cars.
  • Mood Whiplash: Coma-coma-coma-coma-coma-chameleon...
  • Moon Landing Hoax:
    President Truman: Take this to Area 51.
    Soldier: But sir, that's where we're building the fake moon landing set.
    President Truman: Then we'll have to really land on the Moon! Invent NASA and tell them to get off their fannies!
    Nixon: The one secret they never suspected was that I really did stage the moon landing... on Venus! Aroo! Muahahaha!
  • Morality Dial
  • More Dakka: Mom's killbots, which have a minigun on each arm and one on their chest. They only ever manage to kill each other
  • Motivational Lie: The team makes use of this to get Fry to cry out the Emperor that Fry drank.
  • Mr. Seahorse: Kif Kroker's species has "males" who become pregnant by absorbing genetic material from other lifeforms via skin contact. In another episode, Bender allows Fry and Leela to homebrew beer inside his torso and it's treated like a case of pregnancy. In one of the spin-off comics, Zapp Brannigan basically gets this with the intent of using him as a human weapon.
  • Multi-Armed Multitasking: Elzar. The DVD commentary mentions that the animators went out of their way to have each arm work independently rather than have each arm on either side move in the same way.
  • Multiple Choice Past: The circumstances of Bender's "birth" differ every time it's brought up.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Hermes is a master of tedious office work. He is sometimes called upon to display his superhuman ability to fill out paperwork, balance accounts and so forth. Also limbo.
  • Mushroom Samba: In the episode "Hell is Other Robots", Bender injects himself with electricity causing him to go on a mind trip.
  • Must Make Amends: Fry finds his old dog from the 20th century fossilized in a construction site. Feeling bad for abandoning it (despite not meaning to) he arranges for the Professor to actually revive it. With Science!
    • In that same episode, Bender, in a fit of jealousy, literally kicked said dog's fossil into hot lava, but after realizing what he did, he went in to save him and recovered him.
  • Mutants: A group of them live underneath the city in its Absurdly Spacious Sewers, including Leela's parents
  • My God, What Have I Done?: "I just told you, you've killed me!"

    N 
  • Naked People Are Funny: Most scenes with the characters naked make some joke about it.
  • Nausea Dissonance: In "Parasites Lost", after learning there are worms inside Fry's body:
    Hermes: (eating popcorn) It's nauseating, mon! (eats more popcorn) Is there no way to get rid of the disgusting maggots?
  • Negative Continuity: Subverted between the 1st and 2nd direct-to-TV movies.
  • Nepharious Pharaoh: Bender in "A Pharaoh To Remember" forges an inscription on a Egypt like planet making him the pharoh. He immediately goes about devising ways to terrorize his slaves and designing his own monument so that he will always be remembered.
    "Citizens of me! The cruelty of the old Pharaoh is a thing of the past!"
    [crowd cheers]
    "Let a whole new wave of cruelty wash over this lazy land!"
    [crowd cheers, then is confused]
  • Never Live It Down: In-universe. Zapp Brannigan will never let Leela forget the time she had pity sex with him before realizing what an absolute tool he was. It happened once, when she felt sorry for him, and she immediately regretted it and repeatedly swears it will never happen again. He's acted like she's madly in love with him and perpetually seconds away from falling into his arms (and pants) ever since.
    • Invoked hilariosly in Ina Gadda De Leela, the show begins with a cheap-effects space opera being narrated by Zapp Brannigan, ending with him and an actress playing Leela (complete with crappy eye-patch thing) in bed.
    Zapp: Was as it good for you as it was for the human race?
    "Leela": Oh, Zappy, let's save another species right now!
    Zapp: Snore! (passed out)
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The commercials for "Neutopia" made it appear that the cast being Gender Bent would be the focus of the episode. It doesn't happen until the last five minutes, and most of the jokes in those five minutes were shown in the commercials.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Bender's robotic abilities, Leela's armband, Kif and Zoidberg's Bizarre Alien Biology.
  • Nigh Invulnerable: Lampshaded by Bender.
    Bender: Geez, what does it take to kill me?
  • Nightmarish Factory
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Zapp Brannigan. The original concept for the character was "What if William Shatner was the captain of the Enterprise instead of James Kirk?"
    • Elzar is a clear parody of tv chef Emeril Lagasse.
    • Larvae Slevin in "Thief Of Baghead" is an obvious parody of TMZ head honcho/ex-lawyer Harvey Levin.
    • Robot Devil's voice is based on Hans Conried as Captain Hook in Peter Pan.
  • No Challenge Equals No Satisfaction: In the episode "Free Will Hunting", Bender is acquitted in court because, as a robot, all decisions are dictated by his programming and he is thus not responsible for his actions. This depresses Bender, since it means he has no choice in how he acts, and he goes on a spiritual journey (which he hates doing).
  • Noodle Implements/Chekhov's Gun: And this is from the very first episode. Professor Farnsworth introduces a drawer full of "assorted lengths of wire" to distract Fry, Leela and Bender from the fact that he has a spaceship in "Space Pilot 3000". In "The Farnsworth Parabox", a full 4 seasons later, they are used as tools to help the gang and their Universe-1 counterparts find the missing box with Universe-A.
  • Noodle Incident: Professor Farnsworth has a one-sided conversation on the phone.
    "Oh, how awful. Did he at least die painlessly? [beat] To shreds, you say. Well, how's his wife holding up? [beat] To shreds, you say. Very well, then."
    • In "Kif Gets Knocked Up a Notch", Zapp remarks that the last time the Nimbus's holo-shed broke and the holograms turned real, he got slapped with three paternity suits.
  • No Romantic Resolution: Not for Fry and Leela, anyway.
  • Not Allowed to Grow Up: the show makes it pretty clear that several years do go by during the seasons (the pilot episode is set on new years eve 2999, while as of season 7 it is already 3012), but none of the characters ever seem to age. This can be justified for the adult characters since some of them are aliens or robots, and the average life expectancy for humans has drastically increased in the 31th century, but it's very noticeable with the child characters. Cubert, Dwight and the Cookieville Orphans constantly remain at the same age as they were upon their introduction.
  • Not Distracted by the Sexy: In "Jurassic Bark", Amy and Leela are doing some gratuitous wrestling in skimpy gym outfits, but Fry is too preoccupied with the impending resurrection of Seymour to be bothered.
    • In "The Six Million Dollar Mon", Fry is trying to eavesdrop on a conversation Hermes and Bender are having, refusing to help Leela and Amy rub on their new scented body oil in the shower.
    Amy: Please Fry, If I don't do it right she punishes me!
  • Not Me This Time: In Futurama: The Game, Bender says this when they find the ship badly damaged. It turns out that he (as well as Fry and Leela) ''did'' do it.
  • Not Rare Over There: In "Time Keeps On Slippin'", a character mentions that they'll need "some sort of doomsday device" to solve the problem of the week. Quoth Prof. Farnsworth;
    Farnsworth: Doomsday device? Well now the ball's in Farnsworth's court!
    [The professor presses a button on a remote, causing several different stereotypically "mad scientist" style machines to come up through a trap door]
    Farnsworth: I suppose I could part with one and still be feared.
  • The Not So Harmless Punishment: From "Space Pilot 3000,"
    Fry: And what if I don't want to be a delivery boy?
    Leela: Then you'll be fired.
    Fry: Fine!
    Leela: ...out of a cannon, into the Sun.
  • Not That Kind of Doctor: What happens when Zoidberg's ignorance of human biology is taken to its logical conclusion: his doctorate is in Art History.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Happens in the episode "Why Must I Be A Crustacean in Love" with Fry when Zoidberg walks in on both Fry and Edna who is kissing him on her sofa.
    Zoidberg: Edna, I couldn't stand it any longer. I— Gasp! Fry!
    Fry: Dr. Zoidberg, it's not how it looks!
    Zoidberg: Her caviar is on your neck!
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