Follow TV Tropes


Recap / Futurama S 1 E 6 "A Fishful of Dollars"

Go To


When Bender is arrested for shoplifting, Fry finds his old bank lasted to the 31st century—and the thousand years of interest has turned his meager 93 cent account into several billion dollars. Now a rich man, Fry starts buying antiques from the 20th century. Among those purchases is a preserved can of anchovies, a species now extinct. This puts him in conflict with Mom, owner of Mom's Friendly Robot Company, who feels that anchovies are the key to cheap robot oil (and a threat to her company).



  • Abusive Parents: Mom gets off to a flying start, slapping her sons repeatedly.
  • Advert-Overloaded Future: Fry is shocked to discover that in the 31st Century ads are transmitted through one's dreams.
  • An Aesop: First Fry announces that he finally has found what he needed to be happy: "Things, not friends!". After some development he learns that friendship is more important though.
  • All Just a Dream: Invoked by Mom's sons as part of Zany Scheme to steal Fry's money.
  • Artistic License – Economics: The amount of money in Fry's account after a thousand years of compound interest (93 cents and an interest rate of 2.25% equating to approximately 4.3 billion dollars after all that time) is accurate. However, it does not take inflation/deflation into account, nor the fact that dormant accounts are seized by the government after a number of years (which varies by state, but is always below 1,000 years).
  • Advertisement:
  • As Herself: Pamela Anderson, who is taking part in Mom's plan to swindle Fry because "I want my head to be taken seriously as an actress."
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Mom's henchmen successfully stealing all of the money from Fry's bank account, ending his streak of newfound wealth. Subsequently, Fry defiantly eats the ridiculously valuable can of anchovies that he could have used to regain some fraction of his fortune...which turns out to have been exactly what Mom wanted, since it leaves her with an intact monopoly on the world's supply of robot oil.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Mom, who pretends to be a sweet, lovable old lady, is in private an angry bitter old woman, who repeatedly slaps her sons for minor infractions. At the very end of the episode, her mask briefly slips in front of Fry, who doesn't notice.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: The last shot of the episode is an enraged Zoidberg advancing on Fry, angrily demanding more anchovies.
  • Butt-Monkey: One of Mom's sons gets continuously slapped by his family members for the tiniest of reasons.
  • Compound Interest Time Travel Gambit: An unintentional example; Fry unwittingly strikes it rich from having less than a dollar in his bank (which is miraculously still running) for a thousand years and the compound interest of 2.25% for a millenium leaves him with 4.3 billion dollars.
  • Description Cut: When Mom tells her sons that anchovies can be used to make unlimited, cheap robot oil, Walt says, "My God. This Mr. Fry must be a mastermind of the highest caliber!" We then cut to Fry watching old TV reruns and using the can of anchovies as a coaster for his drink.
  • Dick Dastardly Stops to Cheat. Mom enacts a convoluted scheme to get the anchovies off of Fry to prevent him from creating a lubricant that would thwart her monopoly, unaware that he was just going to eat them. It's ultimately subverted though. Despite finding out her plan was unnecessary, it still went off without a hitch, leaving Mom 4.3 billion dollars richer. The episode ends with her getting everything she wanted and then some.
  • Dope Slap: The youngest of Mom's sons gets this treatment from the oldest brother a lot.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • Bender joins the others in tasting the pizza with anchovies and immediately thinks they're gross. Later episodes would show he is a Lethal Chef because he had no sense of taste.
    • Mom doesn’t slap her sons at all in this episode; it’s Walt, instead, who slaps Larry several times and Igner once. On that note, Igner is a bit dim, but also actively malicious towards Fry, rather than the Kind Hearted Simpleton he is in later episodes.
  • Eleventy Zillion: During Fry and Mom's bidding war for the anchovies, when Mom bids 23 million dollars, Fry counters with a shocking bid for one jillion.
    Auctioneer: Sir, that's not a number.
    (The audience gasps just like when Fry made the bid.)
    Fry: Oh... In that case, 50 million.
  • Evil Laugh: When Fry stupidly reveals his PIN number, Mom's sons and Pamela Anderson all laugh diabolically at him. Not realizing their scheme, Fry decides to join in the laughter, only to get knocked out when one of the sons gets annoyed and tells him he's not supposed to laugh.
  • Extinct in the Future: Cows and anchovies are extinct. The last one mysteriously happened about the same time Zoidberg's people arrived on Earth.
  • Faked Rip Van Winkle: In a reversal of the trope, Mom's sons fool Fry into thinking he's back in the 20th century in order to get his PIN.
  • Faux Horrific: Bender is horrified by Rock'em, Sock'em Robots.
  • The Film of the Series: Parodied with Baywatch: The Movie, the first movie shot entirely in slow motion. It won Pamela Anderson the Oscar.
  • Five-Finger Discount: Bender goes on a shoplifting spree, hiding the merchandise inside a sweater. He is caught, and as he tries to explain, the stolen stuff starts falling out. And then keeps on falling out.
  • A Fool and His New Money Are Soon Parted: Fry discovers he'd left some cash in a forgotten bank account, and the accrued interest has made him fabulously wealthy. When he buys a can of (extinct) anchovies Mom has her boys kidnap him to get his PIN (1077) so she can steal all his money and be forced to sell the anchovies (which hold the secret to producing a very cheap, but potent, robot oil). She gives up when she learns he doesn't know this, instead intending to eat the anchovies. Also fulfills the "worse off than before" part: When Fry and co. actually ''do' eat the anchovies, everyone except Fry immediately coughs them up, due to their disgusting taste. Everyone, that is, except Zoidberg. He suffers the opposite effect, since his species is implied to be the reason anchovies went extinct in the first place due to having a strong Horror Hunger for them. Before the episode cuts to black, Zoidberg aggressively yanks Fry toward him, screaming "MORE! MORE!"
  • Future Imperfect: Leela has no idea who Ted Danson is, nor why Fry would want his skeleton.
  • Future Music: When Fry listens to "Baby Got Back", Leela refers to it as classical music. Bender's comment on the same song in a later scene is the Trope Namer for Stuffy Old Songs About the Buttocks.
  • Gratuitous French: The spa Fry and Bender go to is called "Le Spa".
  • High-Class Glass: After Fry becomes a billionaire, the crew start wearing top hats. Feeling underdressed, Bender invokes this trope and dons a monocle as well.
  • Immediate Self-Contradiction: Fry after his Catapult Nightmare.
    Fry: What a weird dream! I'll never get back to sleep! (falls back asleep)
    • Not long after that:
      Amy: We all had commercials in our dreams, but you don't see us running off to buy brand-name merchandise at low, low prices.
      (beat, everyone gets off their chairs and runs off shopping)
  • Implausible Deniability: Bender tries to explain himself when found out as a shoplifter, while more and more of his loot is dropping from under his sweater.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Fry earns some disturbed looks from his friends when summing up what he learned in the episode:
    "Put that checkbook away, because I've discovered something more important. My friends. And they aren't worth even a penny to me."
  • It Runs in the Family: According to the Professor, madness is possibly a family trait. Given what we see of Fry's parents (Particularly, his Crazy Survivalist father), he may have something.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Fry turns down Mom's offer to buy the anchovies off him in favor of using them as a pizza topping. Doing so not only ensures that he remains poor, but he deprives the world of the last source of a special oil that could have kept all robots permanently lubricated. And none of his friends actually like the anchovies anyway, making the act all the more wasteful.
  • Nostalgia Ain't Like It Used to Be: Fry's videotape collection includes a parody of the Pepperidge Farm commercials.
    Commercial: Do you remember a time when women couldn't vote, and certain people weren't allowed on golf courses? Petridge Farm remembers.
  • Oh, Crap!: Mom's reaction when she learns Fry plans to eat the last remaining anchovies on Earth, instead of using them to create an oil that would keep robots lubricated for life like she assumed he would.
    Mom: Holy hell! You're going to eat them?!
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Walt, Larry and Igner's plan to steal Fry's money is awful... and yet the dope still falls for it completely.
  • Right Through the Wall: Subverted in the cold open. Fry is kept awake by the sound of squeaking springs coming from the next apartment. He angrily bangs on the wall and yells at the neighbors to keep it down. The camera pans over to reveal two robots with midsections made out of springs who are playing cards. One of them puts some oil on his springs and the squeaking stops.
  • Stock "Yuck!": Fry buys the last can of anchovies in existence to serve to his friends on a pizza. He enjoys them, but his friends (excluding Zoidberg, of course) do not (which he puts down to them being an "acquired taste").
  • Take That!: At the mall, all of Fry's debit cards are turned down because they all went extinct, except for Discover, which is still in use...which they don't take anyway.
  • They Called Me Mad!: The Professor. Apparently it's because he dreams of atomic monsters, with octagonal shaped bodies who suck something out of people with straws...
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Fry gains several billion dollars from compound interest, and loses all his wealth to Mom.
  • You Know What to Do: Mom uses a security video to instruct her sons on how to bankrupt the newly-rich Fry.
    Mom: You know what needs to be done.
    Larry: What?
  • Your Head A-Splode: A Futurama tradition begins here, with Fry making a robot waiter's head explode simply by ordering anchovies.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: