Recap / Futurama S 2 E 16 Anthology Of Interest I

As the title suggests, this is a Three Shorts anthology episode of Futurama. The Professor uses his new invention, the "Fing-Longerer", to reveal his other new invention, the "What If" machine. This is a device that shows a video of a hypothetical scenario after someone asks it a "what-if" question.

  • Bender asks what it would be like if he had been a 500 foot tall robot. He is shown at first befriending Fry, but later destroys New New York. Bender is killed in a battle with an artificially enlarged Zoidberg.
  • Leela asks what she would be like if she were more impulsive. Her first impulse (to buy a pair of boots with an additional stripe) eventually leads to even more impulsive behaivor, causing her to kill everyone at Planet Express except Fry.
  • Fry wants to know what would have happened if he'd never been frozen. It turns out his absence from the future causes a series of time rift that threaten the universe. Former US vice president Al Gore and his "Vice Presidential Action Rangers" (Stephen Hawking, Nichelle Nichols (Uhura from Star Trek: The Original Series), Gary Gygax (creator of Dungeons & Dragons), and Deep Blue the chess playing robot) arrive to convince Fry that he has to be frozen. When Fry breaks the hibernation capsule instead of freezing himself, the entire universe is destroyed, leaving Fry and the Action Rangers floating in a white void.

At the end, it's revealed that the entire episode was the answer to the Professor's question, "What if I had invented the Fing-Longerer?"

Tropes present:

  • Abnormal Ammo: In the first short, things quickly devolved into a Kaiju battle between a 500-foot-tall Zoidberg and Bender. The weapons they decide to use? Zoidberg decides to use a section of a subway as nunchucks, while Bender takes a section of the highspeed onramp and uses the people in it and around him as blow-darts.
  • And Now For Something Completely Different
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: The first story is about Bender being 500 feet tall. Later, he battles a 500 foot Zoidberg.
  • Ax-Crazy: Impulsive Leela. Later episodes had this coming up much more often.
  • Berserk Button: Al Gore doesn't like it when people forget his vice presidential duties include "protecting the space-time continuum". He's also not fond of Gary Gygax's incessant use of D&D dice.
  • Best of All Possible Worlds: All three of the shorts lead to the death of several main characters, the last one even destroying the universe with the only survivors being Fry, Al Gore, Stephen Hawking, Deep Blue the chess playing robot, Nichelle Nichols, and Gary Gygax.
  • Big Little Man: Bender's story begins with what appears to be Giant Bender, but turns out to be a regular-sized Bender, seen from below, one of many robots building the real Giant Bender.
  • "Blackmail" is Such an Ugly Word: Bender prefers the term extortion. The X makes it sound cool.
  • Bowdlerization: The second story ("What if Leela were impulsive") was (pardon the pun) butchered:
    • Professor Farnsworth getting eaten by the anteaters after his line, "I just told you: You've killed me" was cut.
    • The entire scene of Leela chopping up Hermes was deleted.
    • The accusing parlor sequence no longer has the parts implying that Leela stabbed Cubert, Scruffy the janitor, and Nibbler in the dark.
  • Buffy Speak:
    Fry: What if I never fell into that freezer-doodle and came to the future-jiggy?
    Prof. Farnsworth: That question is less stupid, though you asked it in a profoundly stupid way.
  • Correspondence Course: Zoidberg has mail-order degrees in murderology and murderonomy.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Zoidberg finds the "murdered body of Amy's dead, deceased corpse."
  • Dwindling Party: The main plot element of "Dial L for Leela"
  • Foreshadowing: The Reality-Breaking Paradox of the "Fry never gets frozen" scenario foreshadows both his importance to the universe, and an important revelation in "Roswell That Ends Well".
    • Related to the first point, we see no shadow from under the table as Fry topples.
  • Good Night, Sweet Prince: Fry says this to 500 foot tall Bender after he is impaled by a skyscraper.
  • Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds: Fry destroys the entire universe using a time paradox.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: "I just told you, you've killed me!"
  • Recursive Reality: Turns out the whole episode was itself a what-if story from the What If machine.
  • Sex for Services: Leela has sex with Fry in order to make sure he won't tell anyone of the murders.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: To battle a giant Bender, Professor Farnsworth turns Zoidberg into an "even more equally big monster."
  • This Billboard Needs Some Salt: Giant Bender picks up the smoke stacks from a cigarette factory and smokes them.
  • Twist Ending: The entire episode was a "what if" that Farnsworth was looking at.
  • What If?: The whole point of the What-If Machine.
  • "X" Makes Anything Cool: Trope Namer.