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Recap / Futurama S 1 E 8 "A Big Piece of Garbage"

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A giant asteroid composed entirely of garbage is hurtling towards Earth, and will land on New New York City! The Planet Express crew is roped into saving the day, and into the rivalry between Professor Farnsworth and Dr. Wernstrom.


  • 6 Is 9: The plan to blow up the garbage asteroid fails because Prof. Farnsworth put the detonator display upside down, so the bomb was set to 52 seconds instead of 25 minutes.
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  • Answer Cut: Wernstrom points out that they will never find a crew willing to take on a mission so suicidally dangerous. Then the camera pans over to the our heroes.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": The porn film has this — with gusto!
  • But Wait, There's More!: The moderator of the science contest drops this line.
  • The B Grade: Farnsworth's and Wernstrom's feud began when Farnsworth gave Wernstrom an A- on a test, because penmanship counts. Wernstrom gets even by giving Farnsworth "the lowest grade imaginable: an A-minus-minus!"
  • Distress Call: They receive one from a crew from Neptune, the messenger suffocating from the stench of the garbage ball.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Morbo and Linda mention that they're based in Los Angeles, but nearly all future episodes show them as being based in New New York. Though this one could be hand waved as the network having temporarily relocated them to the west coast to save them from being squished by the ball of garbage.
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  • Establishing Character Moment: Morbo's first line in the series is "Thanks, human female! Puny Earthlings were shocked today to learn that a ball of garbage will destroy their pathetic city of New New York."
  • Exposition Diagram: The professor has a hologram demonstrating the garbage ball hitting earth.
  • If My Calculations Are Correct: Farnsworth drops this line when calculating the trajectory of the anti-garbage ball.
  • If You Die, I Call Your Stuff: We don't see Fry's result when he tests out Professor Farnsworth's Death Clock, but Bender immediately calls dibs on Fry's CD player.
  • The Internet Is for Porn: After seeing a documentary downloaded for the internet:
    Fry: You got that on the Internet? In my day the Internet was only used for pornography.
    Professor Farnsworth: Actually, that's still true.
    Woman in video: Now that the, uh, garbage is in space, doctor, perhaps you can help me with my sexual inhibitions.
    Man in video: With gusto. (they begin to undress)
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  • Green Aesop: Spoofed. Garbage saves the day.
  • Joisey: The documentary about the garbage ball takes a swipe at New Jersey.
    Narrator: The landfills were full. New Jersey was full.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Wernstrom mocks Farnsworth's plans, and when given authority by the Mayor, uses it solely to better himself rather than save New New York. At the end, his Academy of Inventors award is given to Farnsworth, "after it became apparent that [Wernstrom] was a jackass.", as the Mayor puts it.
  • Literal-Minded: When Bender finds a talking Bart Simpson doll among the garbage, it says "Eat my shorts!". Bender readily does so.
  • Made Myself Sad: As Farnsworth is set to launch the second ball of garbage, he notes that if his calculations are correct, the second ball of garbage should knock the first into the sun. Wernstrom then cuts in to declare that "if my calculations are correct, we're all going to die horribly!" and laughs, only to then abruptly shut up when he realizes what he just said and what that means for him.
  • Magic Countdown:
    • The crew is sent to destroy a giant ball of garbage heading directly towards the Earth along with an explosive set to detonate after 25 minutes. Once they activate it, the digital timer counts down "25:00...15:00...05:00...6h:00" to the crew's surprise. The reason? The timer was upside down and thus set to 52 seconds. Way to go, Farnsworth.
    • The countdown for a rocket launch:
    Professor Farnsworth: Five, four, three, two, three, four, five, six...
    Leela: Just fire the damn thing.
  • The Nose Knows: Invoked In-Universe thanks to the Smelloscope.
  • Plan B Resolution: Initially, it seemed the plan to destroy the garbage ball with a time bomb was New New York's only hope. When it failed (and Wernstrom abandoned them), Fry came up with the idea to counter the ball with another garbage ball.
  • Power Walk: The Armageddonnote  example is parodied.
  • Race Against the Clock: The crew has 72 hours until the garbage ball hits New New York.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: The Professor's screw-up with the bomb timer is inspired by a story involving a terrorist attack in Manila in the early 1990s. Reportedly, the clock display on a bomb used by the terrorists was fitted upside-down, and so when they tried to set it for ten minutes (10:00), they unwittingly set it for one second (00:01) and of course blew themselves to kingdom come as soon as they activated the timer. That particular aspect of the story is in all likelihood an urban legend, though the rest of it is true, including the attack going wrong because of some kind of error arming the bomb.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: When the time bomb plan fails, the mayor calls on Wernstrom for a solution. But when his demands are met, he leaves them their fate while he's "set for life".
  • Sexposition: The documentary that explains how the garbage ball came to be also doubles as a porno film, which plays after the exposition part is over.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Someone Else's Problem: After getting rid of the garbage asteroid with another one, worries that the second one might come back are left to the 41st century's people.
  • Spinning Newspaper: Parodied as countless newspapers are printed and immediately tossed upon the streets to make garbage.
  • Start X to Stop X: The first ball of garbage gets stopped by another ball of garbage, which will surely return to Earth by the 41st century.
  • Ultimate Job Security: Professor Wernstrom tricks Mayor Poopenmeyer into giving him tenure as part of the plan to get rid of the giant ball of garbage. Afterwards, he refuses to deal with the garbage ball on grounds that he's set for life, leading to this exchange:
    Leela: That rat! Do something!
    Mayor Poopenmeyer: I would, but he's got tenure.
  • Uranus Is Showing: The Professor tells Fry that the planet was renamed to end that stupid joke once and for all- to Urectum.
  • Whole Plot Reference: To Armageddon, especially the middle act.
  • Yet Another Baby Panda: The TV news report about Mittens the kitten instead of more pressing issues.

Wernstrom: I give this recap page the worst grade imaginable: An A minus minus!


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