YMMV / Futurama

  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Is Linda really blissfully unaware of what Morbo says when he goes on to threaten the human race? She's been working with the guy for years, and since his people still haven't done anything to Earth she could well view his tirades as big talk. Although a later episode revealed she's a hardcore alcoholic which may have something to do with her reactions.
    • Considering his general amorality, it's not hard to believe that Hubert's charming and harmless-seeming senility is just a very good act to get away with endangering people.
    • Is Nibbler a bit too committed to his dumb animal act, or is he shrewdly exploiting it to get away with being a Jerkass to everyone? It helps the person his misbehaviour most irritates tends to be Bender, who hates him.
    • Lars Fillmore could be seen as a version of Fry who straightened out his life, learned some valuable lessons about relationships and maturity, and knew what Leela was really looking for in a man better than Fry himself or an opportunist who almost stole his less mature self's chance at happiness just because he saw a potential advantage without any regard for how Fry felt (which is something he'd be well aware of in doing so, because of who he is).
  • Angst? What Angst?:
    • Fry and Leela don't seem too bothered by the idea that everything in the universe is frozen in place besides them in the series finale. Well, they did have each other.
    • Played for Laughs in the pilot, where Fry actually expresses joy for leaving his old time period, though a later episode suggests that he just convinced himself that his past was horrible because he knew he could never go back.
  • Ass Pull: The reveal that Igner is Professor Farnsworth's son. First, the episode Mother's Day revealed that Farnsworth's affair with Mom took place long before he could have been born. Second, unless Mom managed to cover it up, Igner didn't show up as one of Fry's living relatives in the pilot. It doesn't help that after the reveal, it pretty much never came up up again in the series.
  • Anvilicious:
    • Into the Wild Green Yonder, with heavily pro-feminist and pro-environment messages, can come across as this. Alternatively zig-zagged or double-subverted, as the eco-feminists come off half the time as well-intentioned heroes, and the other half as disorganized, overzealous morons.
    • Decision 3012 is basically 20-odd minutes of "Birthers are bigoted morons". Made especially painful by the fact that the whole controversy had died down immensely by the time the episode aired.
    • A lot of post-revival episodes can be seen as this, making their episode topics about various current events such as the latest iphone, media censorship, or GMO products, often wish very little else aside from trying to teach heavyhanded lessons on various topics that can come across as forced.
  • Awesome Music:
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Zapp Brannigan. Depending on who you ask, he's either hilarious or the worst character on the show.
    • Zoidberg. Despite his large fanbase, many people hate him just as much as the other characters do.
  • Better on DVD: The original run was broadcast out of order and at erratic intervals (to the point that there are actually five broadcast seasons made up of four production seasons). The DVDs and Netflix streaming allow you to watch the series as it was originally intended.
  • Bizarro Episode:
    • The "Anthology of Interest" episodes are two sets of three What If? shorts.
    • "The Futurama Holiday Spectacular" is a pastiche of holiday specials.
    • "Reincarnation" imagines the cast of the show in three different animation styles: old-time "rubber hose" cartoons from The Thirties, early 1980s video game pixel art, and badly-dubbed, stiffly-animated Japanimation from the 1970s.
    • "Saturday Morning Fun Pit" is one big Take That against Saturday morning cartoons (the popular American ones like Scooby-Doo, Strawberry Shortcake, and G.I. Joe) wrapped in a Three Shorts package with a framing device of Richard Nixon's head trying to deal with angry Moral Guardian protesters.
    • "Naturama" reimagines the characters as wildlife and is structured like an episode of Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom.
  • Broken Base: The made-for-DVD movies and the Comedy Central episodes. Either they're just as good as the FOX episodes or they're an inferior copy of the infinitely better FOX run. Ditto the first couple of episodes, where the voice acting was kinda off (especially for Bender), everyone's characterizations weren't fully developed, and most people thought the show was So Okay, It's Average (or dismissed it as "The Simpsons in space").
  • Captain Obvious Aesop: Parodied:
    Jack Johnson: It's time that someone had the courage to stand up and say: "I'm against those things that everybody hates!"
    John Jackson: I respect my opponent. He's a good man. But frankly, I agree with everything he just said!
  • Cargo Ship: Scruffy owns a robotic Washbucket with a female voice. In one episode, Amy gets her brain switched with the Washbucket, and Washbucket declares her love for Scruffy. Scruffy declares his love back, but turns her down because she's a robot even in Amy's body. She leaves the room, and he curls up and cries.
  • Crosses the Line Twice:
    • Fry's repeated deaths in "Meanwhile". At first it's gruesome and horrifying, but after the fourth or fifth time, it becomes gruesome and hilarious.
    • Robot Santa's entire existence is based solely on this trope.
    • Any time that Fry casually mentions domestic abuse is far funnier than it has any right to be.
      • From "The Series Has Landed":
    Fry: He wasn't an astronaut, he was a TV comedian! And he was just using space travel as a metaphor for beating his wife!
    • From "The Sting":
    Leela: Remember: bees communicate by dancing.
    Fry: Hey, just like my parents! (beat) No, wait... That was "hitting".
    • The "Lovey Bears" from Love And Rocket. A set of adorable stuff-animal toys, made by genetically engineering super-adorable little bears, raising them in a cutesy, loving environment, and then on their first birthday, finding the cutest, murdering them and stuffing them full of fire-retardant fluff. Even Bender actually looks unnerved by that one.
    • Bender tapdancing on the recently dead body of a young girl with a heart condition, after stating that he couldn't wait to dance on her grave. What saves is that, a) she was a manipulative Bitch in Sheep's Clothing who tried to sabotage his performance earlier, and b), the tap dancing ends up resuscitating her.
  • Designated Villain: There's the parody example of the Ball aliens that Earth went to war with on "War is the H-Word." As it turns out, it was the Earthican forces that were the invaders, the Ball people were just harmless aliens that only wanted to bounce. When Fry realizes this, he's understandably confused.
  • Do Not Do This Cool Thing: From "Bender Should Not Be Allowed On Television":
    Bender: You're watching Futurama, the show that does not advocate the really cool crime of robbery!
  • Ear Worm:
    • "Weeeee're whalers on the Moon..." Repeated many times within the episode, and the characters are clearly sick of it.
    • "Call Robo-Rooter when you flush a towel! And we can also help with an impacted bowel. Robo-Rooter!"
    • "Pop a Poppler in your mouth/When you come to Fishy Joe's!/What they're made of is a mystery/Where they come from no one knows!/You can pick 'em, you can lick 'em/You can chew 'em, you can stick 'em/If you promise not to sue us/You can shove one up your nose!"
    • Also the Robot Hell song.
    • "Freedom, freedom, freedom, oy! Freedom, freedom, freedom, oy!"
    • This toy shop's goin' to war!
    • The four-beat melody from "Game of Tones".
    • "He wants a brain!" "He wants a Robit Brain!"
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • "MORBO OF DEMANDS RECOGNITION OF HIS POPULARITY!"
    • "All glory to the hypno-toad!"
    • Also Zoidberg!
    • Calculon and his UNGODLY! ACTING! TALENT!!!
    • Scruffy was a popular character during the interim when Futurama was not producing new episodes. He only made a few appearances in the original run, and was mostly noteworthy for his extreme apathy. Since the revival, Scruffy has had a much larger role, frequently appearing alongside the main cast, almost solely due to his popularity on the Internet.
  • Fanfic Fuel: One issue of the comic books indicates that foiling and then assisting the Zookeeper was not the only adventure that Fry, Leela, and Bender had as the New Justice Team. Who knows what other adventures they had with their superpowers?
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • In I Dated A Robot we see a video about how humans dating robots will destroy the world. Then we get Proposition Infinity and discover robosexuals are both common and repressed. Bonus awkward for the original tape being a high school health class video approved by The Space Pope.
    • In the pilot episode, the line about the Stop & Drop Suicide booths being "Americans' favorite suicide booth since 2008" becomes a bit wince-worthy in light of 2008's economic meltdown and the invention of an actual suicide machine in the same year.
    • Fry's delighted reaction to realizing that everybody and everything he knew in the 20th century has gone (since he thought they didn't seem to like, care, or even respect him) seems much harsher when subsequent episodes such as The Luck of the Fryrish, Cold Warriors and Game of Tones have shown that his family actually did love him and were worried about him when he went missing.
    • One of the stations in the New New York tubeway system is given as "J.F.K., Jr. Airport". After the real-life John F. Kennedy, Jr. died when his private plane crashed, the line was replaced with "Radio City Mutant Hall" (though the original line can still be heard on the full-episode animatic that appears on Futurama volume one DVD).
    • Fry's last line before he got cryogenically frozen was "Here's to another lousy millennium". Eerily prophetic considering that 2000 to 2010 had a lot of terrible things happen both in America and globally (a major terrorist attack on American soil, economic failure, and natural disasters). Doubles as Harsher in Hindsight.
    • In The Lesser of Two Evils, the main characters visit a theme park modeled on 2000s New York. There's a brief scene where the stock market drops from about 11,000 to 7,200, similar numbers to the real-life 2008 crash. (Fortunately, it jumps right back up to 11,000, and all the stock brokers who jumped to their apparent deaths float back up into the building via jetpack). Considering that the scene was supposed to be a "distorted history" take on the crash that started the Great Depression, that makes this a sort of bizarre case of life imitating art imitating life.
    • The plot of Calculon 2.0 (about Bender and Fry plotting to return Calculon to life so he can return to All My Circuits) has become this, as by the time it aired the show had been cancelled again.
      • Incidentally, that very episode contains the line: "This must be a hard time for those who confuse TV actors with real-life friends." The episode aired right around Cory Montieth's death (although the writers couldn't have possibly known about it), making it a shockingly relevant line at the time.
    • The Problem With Popplers features an Animal Wrongs Group protesting meat consumption, with Leela pointing out that animals eat other animals and then shown a lion who was taught to eat tofu... with the lion in a very, very malnourished state. The 2010's brings us the disturbing trend of vegan pet owners forcing their pets onto vegan diets.
    • Remember in "That's Lobstertainment!" when Joan Rivers' head joked she had her face lifted so many times they finally cut it off her body? It becomes a lot less funny after the real Joan Rivers died during plastic surgery.
    • In "Attack of the Killer App", Sal's friend Hoschel remarks that the video of Fry diving into alien goat vomit and diarrhea is "disgusting and inspiring, like Jared from Subway". As of 2015, Jared Fogle has been fired by Subway after he confessed to owning child pornography and having sex with minors.
  • Genius Bonus:
    • A lot of jokes, references, and continuity errors are more understandable if you know anything about college-level math and science.
    • The series has a number of particularly extreme examples in which complicated jokes (possibly made in a fictional language) are hidden in the background and can only be seen for a split-second, requiring a very devoted fan to pause and get the absolute most out of episodes.
    • Everything's playing at the Aleph-Null-Plex!
  • Harsher in Hindsight: The electronics disposal scene in "Attack of the Killer App" can be somewhat disquieting for actual New Yorkers. In 2015, It became illegal to submit most electronics for curbside garbage disposal in New York State.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • The unnamed couple's clear, plastic tarps with strategically-placed black tape from the first episode ("Space Pilot 3000"), the futuristic club clothes everyone wears at The Hip Joint on "Love Labor's Lost in Space" and Leela's costume on "Bend Her" can now be identified as styles associated with Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj, or Kesha.
    • The Couch Gag from the final original series episode? "See you on some other channel." Doubly hilarious, considering that Futurama went from being rerun on Cartoon Network's [adult swim] block to rerun (and revived) on Comedy Central, and triply hilarious now that Comedy Central canceled it and there's a lot of rumors that the show will once again be revived somewhere else.
    • In "Bend Her", when Bender asks Farnsworth to make a woman out of him, Farnsworth misunderstands and says they should "just remain friends". We later find out that he actually has had experience with Robosexual relationships in "Proposition: Infinity"
      • The idea of Bender getting a sex change operation after winning some Olympic gold medals and marrying a rich TV personality is very similar to the story of Caitlyn Jenner. The fact that Bender only cares about himself during all this mirrors the controversies that Jenner is not a good transgender role model.
    • In "Lesser of Two Evils" in the Old New York theme park there's a marquee that says Star Wars 9: Yoda's Bar Mitzvah. Not only did Disney purchase Star Wars with plans to make a sequel trilogy (episodes VII, VIII, and IX) but it was announced in February 2013 that there would be a Spin-Off movie based on Yoda.
    • In "Overclockwise" Mom spies on Bender and Cubert using the X-Cube 360's camera. Two years later, Kinect 2 on the Xbox One was announced to be mandatory and still listening even when left on standby, making people paranoid that Microsoft was trying to spy on them (though it would later turn out that the Kinnect would not listen during standby).
    • In "The Cryonic Woman", a man who was unfrozen claims he did so because he wanted to meet Shakespeare, his reasoning being "I figured time was cyclical". Although Fry's response is "Nope, straight line", "The Late Philip J. Fry" shows that ultimately, due to the universe repeating eternally, time is cyclical after all.
    • In "Farewell to Arms" Amy mentions the end of the world prophecy tells of Sharksplosions.
    • The second segment of "Anthology of Interest II" features the Earth being invaded by classic 1980's arcade game characters. Years later this winds up being the basis for Pixels.
    • In the fourth film, "Into the Wild Green Yonder", Straw Feminist Frida Waterfall has a quirk of feminizing and masculineizing words ("I will fem-unicate your man-formation"). Cut to present day and the rise in popularity of terms such as 'mansplain' and 'manspread'.
    • In 2001, the episode I Dated A Robot aired and showed an Alternate Universe in which everyone is a cowboy. In 2004, Steel Ball Run came out and is basically the same thing.
  • Informed Wrongness: Bender in "I Second That Emotion." His reason for lashing out at Nibbler was because an unattended can-opener nearly killed him, and as he implied, killed his father in the past. While Bender's behavior later was uncalled for, that can-opener was pretty much a deathtrap for robots.
  • It Was His Sled: Leela's origins and parentage were a big twist when "Leela's Homeworld" first aired, but it's unlikely any viewers make it to that episode without knowing ahead of time these days.
  • Magnificent Bastard: God, also the Robot Devil when he gets serious.
  • Memetic Mutation: A page full of them!
  • Moral Event Horizon: Zapp Brannigan is a grade-A Jerkass, putting himself above others and commanding suicide missions. However, some may argue that he crossed the line in The Beast With a Billion Backs. Kif dies as a result of Zapp making him try to go through the dimensional portal to attack Yivo. After hiding in a shack with Amy and Leela, Zapp begins "reminiscing" about Kif. Zapp then SLEEPS WITH AMY. So, yeah, the jerk used a widow's husband's death, one that he caused no less... to get laid.
    • If he didn't cross it then, Zapp definitely crossed it in "In a Gadda Da Leela." Leela and Zapp crash on an unknown planet, alone and without supplies. Leela is trapped under a fallen tree, and delirious from lack of water, and the Earth has apparently been destroyed. Through the episode, Zapp appears to be helping Leela get better. Then we find out that the planet they crashed on is Earth, and Zapp has not only been using their current predicament for an Adam and Eve Plot-style seduction, but placed the hazards there so that he'd have a better shot at sleeping with Leela (again). The writers themselves seem to know that what Zapp did was unforgivable: they originally planned for Zapp to get off scot-free, but changed it to Leela punishing him in a rather fitting manner.
  • Most Annoying Sound: Leela's boil singing "A-MAAAA-ZING GRAAAAACE!"
  • Narm: An in-story example:
    Fry: "Bone-itis"? That's a funny name for a horrible disease.
  • Nausea Fuel: Fry drinking a tub of beer that others have spat out in "Fun on a Bun".
    • Fry drinking bathtub eggnog that turns out to be scented bathwater for Zoidberg in "A Tale of Two Santas."
      • Bender drinking the alcohol-flavored water Professor Farnsworth was bathing in and commenting on the flavor being a fine cognac with a hint of aged scrotum on "Benderama."
    • Bender as a morbidly obese human.
    • "Murder on the Planet Express" manages to best them all, with Leela eating Fry's kidney. Made even worse when you consider that at this point, they're dating.
  • Never Live It Down: Leela's one night stand with Zapp. Mostly because he references it every single time they share a scene, though the later episodes don't mention it at all.
  • No Problem with Licensed Games: Game of Drones, a game based on the show, has excellent animation and catchy music. It's also at a good difficulty level - it's not so hard that it's frustrating, but it's not so easy that it's boring.
  • Older Than They Think: The "Do you remember [X]? Pepperidge Farm remembers." joke had been done in "A Fishful of Dollars", seven years before Family Guy did it in "Hell Comes to Quahog".
  • Painful Rhyme: In "Fry and the Slurm Factory", the Grunka-Lunkas use terribly forced rhymes in their songs.
    Grunka lunka dunkity-gredient
    You should not ask about the secret ingredient!
  • The Scrappy:
    • Mr. Wong. Sexist, stupid, and demeaning to everyone, he's earned a lot of haters who wished he died in Into the Wild Green Yonder. And given that sexism and possessive behavior towards one's children are Chinese stereotypes, he might even qualify as an Ethnic Scrappy.
    • The "Susan" butt boil is quickly getting a lot of this for various reasons, such as it being an already outdated joke in an already topical-heavy episode, and for just having a really annoying voice.
    • Leela's parents, Morris and Munda, are also rather disliked by fans. A lot of it comes from the fact that they separated for silly reasons just to get an episode's plot going, and they tend to be shoehorned into every episode they appear.
    • Cubert is another in-universe example and he is also rather disliked by fans. The thing is, the creators intended him to be unlikable as a parody of a Creator's Pet.
    • Michelle, who not only cheated on Fry, but showed that she was an incredibly selfish and controlling person in her Day in the Limelight episode.
  • Seasonal Rot: The Comedy Central episodes and made-for-DVD movies are viewed by some as inferior to the earlier FOX episodes.
  • Spiritual Adaptation: Its down-to-earth and humorous portrayal of complex scientific concepts, and its depiction of such things as "the big bang" and "the heat death of the universe" makes it one for Italo Calvino's Cosmicomics, this is especially true of the episode "Naturama".
  • Strawman Has a Point: A spritz from Zoidberg's empathy bladder actually *does* sound relaxing, if a bit gross.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: The main theme, to both Pierre Henry's original "Psyché Rock" and the Fatboy Slim remix thereof; the influence of the latter is especially obvious in the extended version.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: After it was revealed that Igner was Farnsworth's son, that gave the show potential for story ideas after it was Un-Canceled. However, after the reveal, Igner stayed a side character and it was never brought up again.
    • To some, Nibbler, as they didn't really do anything with him once the crew found out he could talk. In fact, he only appeared in about 4-5 episodes of the Comedy Central run, in which he spoke in only about 3 episodes.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: Leonardo Da Vinci in The Duh-Vinci Code. The fact that he built a device solely to kill the rest of the population of his planet is supposed to be seen as some sort of great Moral Event Horizon and is even lampshaded by Fry's horrified reaction. However, he comes off as much more tragic due to the fact that the rest of his race were complete and utter jerkasses who bullied him, mocked him, belittled him, and harassed him all his life just because he wasn't as smart as the rest of his population. Given how several people in real life can be severely traumatized from excessive bullying from just a few days and how he had to put up with being bullied for several millennia due to their advanced lifespans, he comes of more of a would-be Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds than anything else. And his race showing pity for Da Vinci after his death comes off as more hypocritical of them than anything else.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Fry in Game of Tones. His desire to spend time with a dream simulation of his deceased mother is totally understandable... except that by doing so, he's willfully ignoring his mission and jeopardizing every actual living person on Earth.
  • Unpopular Popular Character: Zoidberg is the In-Universe Scrappy to the other characters, but he's very popular amongst fans.
  • Values Dissonance: As funny (and somewhat heartwarming) as it is, the episode "Bend Her" (first aired in 2003) can come off as offensive to transgender people and women these days, as it shows Bender dominating in the Olympics over the fembots and getting a sex change to trick the judges (and Calculon). There's also Farnsworth's misogynist remarks about women being swayed by their emotions (though Leela does slap him for saying that) and Bender (as "Coilette") acting slutty as a means to be attractive to Calculon.
  • We're Still Relevant, Dammit: The Comedy Central series is a lot more prone to referencing topical events that end up being yesterday's news not long after the episode airs. Attack of the Killer App alone has iPhones, Twitter, Susan Boyle, and references to Jared from the Subway adverts at the same time. This episode aired in mid-2010, well after many of these topics stopped being topical (or at least edgy). The only good thing to come from this is the fact that the topical events that become irrelevant or passe here aren't as painful and in-your-face as it is on the latter-day episodes of The Simpsons (unless you're watching the episode "Decision 3012", which was nothing but a thinly-veiled reference to the "birthers" who think Barack Obama doesn't have a birth certificate and isn't legally a U.S. citizen, though that episode was considered bad because of its heavy-handed politics, not because of dated references).
  • What an Idiot: Dan McMasters from Murder On the Planet Express. After terrifying the crew and making them overly paranoid of a potential shape-shifting monster, he then has the "bright" idea of trying to calm Fry and Bender down even though they're both now scared out of their minds, and he does so without bringing the rest of the still-alive Planet Express crew with him to prove that he's telling the truth. All things considered, he probably deserved what happened to him.
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